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Michael Bay Vouches for Retitled ‘Ninja Turtles’

I'm not sure whether fans are really all that torn up about Paramount's new live-action film version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or they just love pressing producer Michael Bay's buttons. Probably a little bit of both.

The controversy surrounding the Turtles "alien" origin was put to bed (for now) thanks to some encouraging comments from director Jonathan Liebesman, but now the film's title is the latest object of scrutiny. Paramount has decided to shorten the title to simply Ninja Turtles, which has a number of folks assuming the Turtles will be neither "mutant" nor "teenage."

On his personal forum, Shoot for the Edit, Bay has responded with ample (and arguably justified) frustration, defending LIebesman and the creative team behind this film.

"Paramount marketing changed the name. They made the title simple. The characters you all remember are exactly the same, and yes they still act like teenagers. Everything you remember, why you liked the characters, is in the movie. This script is being developed by two very smart writers, with one of the original creators of Ninja Turtles. They care VERY MUCH about making this film for the fans. Everyone on this team cares about the fans. Just give them a chance. Jonathan the director, is a major fan of the whole franchise. HE'S NOT GOING TO LET YOU DOWN."

While the obvious assumption we can make about the above statement is that Bay needs to pop a chill pill, the other is that Turtle fanboys have gone way too far in protecting the proverbial last slice of pepperoni in the pizza box of their childhood.

The name switch to NinjaTurtles falls right in line with studios' misguided superstition that franchise reboots need to have shortened riffs on the original title in order to stand out as "modern," a myth debunked in 2008 when The Incredible Hulk made more money worldwide than Hulk in 2003. Then there's the line of thought that elminating words that don't have a broad appeal will make the film more marketable, another myth debunked just a couple weeks ago when John Carter flopped at the box office.

At the rate that Ninja Turtles is taking hits, chances are the PR and marketing folks at Paramount have flagged this project as top priority until it comes out Christmas 2013.


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