When Napoleon Dynamite was released in Japan way back in 2006, it wasn't called Napoleon Dynamite. It had a dumb name. Because of that, in 2013, there are apologies.
Instead of Napoleon Dynamite, the flick's title was Bus Man (バス男 or "Basu Otoko"). The name and even the movie's poster art were supposed to ride on the coattails of Train Man, a web yarn that was turned into a book, a movie, and a TV series.
Among movie fans, the Bus Man moniker was even called the "the worst localized title in Japan," movie site Pia (via Yahoo! Japan) reports. The poster and the DVD box art did have the words "Napoleon Dynamite" on them, but that was not the movie's title.
The Japanese Napoleon Dynamite box art features a similar style font that was used for Train Man. For Train Man, similar fonts were used in the book, feature film, and the TV series to give the franchise strong branding. The Napoleon Dynamite poster also featured Japanese net slang that was peppered throughout Train Man and made it seem like the bus was central to the film.
This October, Napoleon Dynamite is once again going on sale in Japan, but as Napoleon Dynamite.
And get this, 20th Century Fox is packaging the movie with a sleeve wrapping with an "official apology" that reads: "It was truly inexcusable for us to take advantage of an opportunity at the time and to give the movie such a title."
Bus Man, no, Napoleon Dynamite once again goes on sale in Japan on October 2.
“日本一最悪な邦題”がタイトル変更。フォックスが公式謝罪 [Yahoo! Japan]
To contact the author of this post, write to bashcraftATkotaku.com or find him on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft.
Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.