“Where is the murder?”
Complicated emotions arise when you hear one of the most infamously polarizing directors of a generation is making a big budget horror movie with the exact same title as your micro indie rom-com.
Our movie is called Split because it’s about bowling.
M. Night Shyamalan’s Split is about a murderous villain with multiple personality disorder.
We shot our film 3 years before his eventual box office smash James McAvoy vehicle was announced and our title has always been the same. We have the copyright and WGA numbers to prove it.
Here’s What Happens When Two Films Have The Same Title
We’d been powering through post for a while like many indies, owing to the usual costs of necessary pieces, friends working for nothing and a career’s worth of favors cashed in. We had to pick cheap and weren’t giving up good, so fast had to go.
Finally last year, we decided on one of several distributors that had expressed interest in The World’s First Romantic Bowling Comedy and released wide a few months later.
The bowling community was enamored, our cast was praised, people loved our heart-warming story about a misguided, over-achieving young woman trying to make her professional bowler dad proud by getting married before she turned 30.
We’d done exactly what we’d set out to do: make a movie about love of both movies and bowling – with bowlers, for bowlers.
Then a year after the dawn of our distribution deal, M. Night sets in. His Split of course is a much bigger movie, and is reportedly his true return to form. His opening weekend is nuts, people love it. Shalom Shyamalan, except then it starts to not be so great for us.
Very quickly, our Split starts showing up advertised as the horror movie. All over the internet. On reputable sites and illegal ones. All with incorrect images, swapped synopsis and all.
People are watching our movie and wondering when all the kidnapping and murderin’ is gonna start!
Leaving aside how even seeing your indie flick on illegal sites feels, it’s exponentially worse when people start throwing angry comments at your fun-for-the-family, girl-meets-boy movie through no fault or negligence of your own.
Who knows how many people skip over our title assuming they’ve already seen it or don’t want to watch a murder movie
Some of our online ratings have suffered from the confusion as well, which are lifeblood to a small picture like ours. But, the good news is reviews from people actually wanting to watch our movie are overwhelmingly uplifting and positive.
This continues to be quite an experience. In a shocking twist (couldn’t resist), no one from M. Night land has reached out to us at any point. But I’m sure his team is getting inundated with people clamoring to see more bowling in their horror movie.
– – –
Jamie Buckner is a Kentucky born, Brooklyn-based filmmaker. His feature debut as a producing writer/director, the World’s First Romantic Bowling Comedy: SPLIT, is currently available via Amazon Prime, iTunes and more. His follow up project: Call Us Ishmael, an academic documentary look at the fans and community surrounding Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick is coming soon. He is the founder and president of Derby City Productions.