Posted on Thursday, December 24th, 2009 by Devindra Hardawar
We just recently covered the first trailer for Kevin Smith’s latest film, Cop Out — a film whose original title, A Couple of Dicks, was gathering similar controversy to Smith’s previous Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Fans pushed hard for Smith to stick with the title since it was announced, but we always knew that the studio could change their minds at any point. We even knew about the safer placeholder title, A Couple of Cops, which was to serve as a last resort if they couldn’t sell the film with otherwise.
But instead of that bland filler title, we got the ironic Cop Out. And now we finally know how, exactly, Smith decided on the title.
Speaking to the EW Hollywood Insider blog, Smith said that Warner Brothers ran the title by the big three television networks, ABC, NBC, and CBS, and the response wasn’t exactly what they wanted. The networks flat out refused to air any ad featuring that title, or any sort of variation, before 9pm.
The studio explained to Smith why that wasn’t a viable option:
So my feeling was like, it’s an R-rated movie, so who the f— are we talking to anyway before 9 o’clock? Warner Bros’s feeling was like, “Hey man, the sports audience, dickhead. We have to advertise to the sports audience on Saturday and Sunday and all those sporting events usually take place before 9 p.m. in the evening.” At which point, I was like, “Oh wow, you guys are way smarter than me.”
At that point, Smith realized that the title had to be changed. Given the trouble he had gone through with Zack and Miri, he really didn’t want to go through another film title battle.
Smith goes on to explain why he feels that fighting for the raunchier title wouldn’t have been all that successful:
And I’ve got a lot of people online, on Twitter especially, going, “Don’t lose this fight! Don’t let them change it!” And it’s like, “Dude, it’s not my call.” All these people online seem to think I have the almighty juice. I got no juice. I made Jersey Girl. I can’t pull any f—ing strings.
He didn’t mention Zack and Miri’s lackluster box office showing, but I’m sure that also factored into his realization that he basically has no clout when it comes to this fight. At the same time, he didn’t want to be resigned to a boring title like A Couple of Cops. And then came the breakthrough:
We went from a really clever title to the least clever title of all time. I was like, “God that title is going to feel like such a f—ing cop out.” And [the producer] goes, “We should just call the movie that.”
Smith goes on to explain that he likes the title because it feels like an 80′s buddy cop movie, and that it also pokes fun at the fact that they had to change the title in the first place. And I don’t think that anyone would argue that A Couple of Cops would in any way be a better choice.