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‘World of Warcraft’ and the ‘Rise’ of Subtitles

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Choosing a subtitle for a blockbuster movie these days is no laughing matter. The list of releases without one this past summer includes Land of the Lost, Public Enemies, Terminator Salvation, Brüno and Angels & Demons. Together, those five movies grossed about $463 million. That figure pales in comparison to those movies that did feature a subtitle.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaur and, the mother of them all, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (the biggest moneymaker of 2009) grossed a combined total of $1 billion. The trend of attaching a dramatic subtitle onto blockbusters is something that the filmmakers behind the highly anticipated film version of the online game World of Warcraft seem to have noticed.

The latest news about the project, which was announced in late July with Sam Raimi attached to direct, is that the title has been changed to World of Warcraft: The Rise of Lich King. It’s not a bad title if you can get past the fact that the word “rise” has already been used as a subtitle in two blockbuster adaptations before (G.I. Joe and Fantastic Four) and that the name “Lich King” sounds like the hacking cough of an aging Polish man. But as long as Warcraft doesn’t feature Will Ferrell and dinosaurs (or any combination of the two) they may have a winner on their hands.

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