According to director Jessica M. Thompson, the original title of The Invitation wasn’t well received by male audiences, prompting Sony to change it.
Director Jessica M. Thompson reveals Sony changed the original title of The Invitation due to poor reception amongst male audiences. Thompson, who previously directed The Light of the Moon, is at the helm of The Invitation, which she co-wrote with Hell Fest and Polaroid scribe Blair Butler. The film's cast is headed by Fast & Furious franchise star and Game of Thrones alum Nathalie Emmanuel, who is joined by Thomas Doherty, Stephanie Corneliussen, Alan Boden, and Sean Pertwee.
Trailers for The Invitation have given audiences a taste of what to expect, introducing the protagonist Evie (Emmanuel), an orphan who discovers previously unknown family members after taking a DNA test. With her new, wealthy family eager to make her acquaintance, Evie attends a wedding at a manor in the English countryside, where she encounters vampires. The film feels like Ready or Not mixed with vampire lore, which looks to liven up the vampire genre.
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As reported by IndieWire, Thompson divulged that the original title of The Invitation had to be changed due to the response of male audiences after test screenings. The film's original title, The Bride, didn't sit well with men. Among a few alternative titles, which Thompson didn't elaborate on, she chose the Invitation for its connection to vampire lore and an overwhelming acceptance by all audiences. However, the director notes that the film is still a feminist vampire, despite the title change. Check out Thompson's comments on The Invitation's title swap below:
"I loved 'The Bride,' I thought it was a great title, but it really wasn’t tracking well with male audiences, which is disappointing. Obviously, 'The Invitation' is a play on vampires having to be invited into the house, things like that. There were a couple of others that I also thought were good contenders, but the audience overwhelmingly said that they loved this one."
The Invitation's title change is far from the first alteration a film has made due to test screenings. For example, Martin Scorsese's classic gangster film Goodfellas had disastrous test screenings, with some audience members even walking out because the movie was too violent, prompting the director to tone things down, leading to six Academy Award nominations. So while some instances can help change the film's content, like Goodfellas, the title change for The Invitation opens the movie to more demographics while not altering the film itself. That said, the idea that men weren't interested in a movie called The Bride, solely based on the title, indicates a more significant problem surrounding fragile masculinity. As Thompson reiterates, the film's content never changed, which means the men who disliked the original title weren't bothered by the feminist messaging at the film's core.
The Invitation is getting a jump on the fall season, which is set to offer numerous horror films, like Halloween Ends and the Hellraiser reboot. Still, the film looks to bring some new life to the vampire genre, offering audiences something unique. For those interested in seeing The Invitation, it opens in theaters on August 26.
Source: IndieWire
Tim McClelland is a TV/Movie News Writer for Screen Rant. His screenplays have accrued more than 25 awards and selections in competition, including Best Original Screenplay at the 2021 Hollywood Blood Horror Festival and Best Horror Feature Screenplay 2020 from Bridge Fest, with his work being hailed as “complex, layered, and bloodcurdling.” He got his start when his short biography of Augusten Burroughs was published in 2008, and his career has seen him write video game walkthroughs, web content, and interactive fiction for mobile platforms. He even found himself with one of those nifty IMDB credits for a short film he wrote. Tim resides in Durham, NC, with a rabid passion for film, TV, video games, and comics, all of which he owns way too many of, and those collections are only rivaled by his overabundance of LEGO. He also happens to be an ordained Dudeist Priest, working to spread The Big Lebowski’s relaxed worldly philosophy, “Just take it easy, man.” Find Tim on Letterboxd or Twitter as tdm5003.


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