A working title, which may be abbreviated and styled in trade publications after a putative title as (wt), also called a production title or a tentative title, is the temporary title of a product or project used during its development, usually used in filmmaking, television production, video game development, or the creation of a novel or music album.
Working titles are used primarily for two reasons – the first being that an official title has not yet been decided upon, with the working title being used purely for identification purposes, and the second being a ruse to intentionally disguise the real nature of a project.
Projects usually have a fixed working title so everyone knows what project they're taking about, because ideas for release titles can keep on changing.
Examples of the former include the film Die Hard with a Vengeance, which was filmed under the title Die Hard: New York, and the James Bond films, which are commonly produced under numerical titles such as Bond 22, until an official title is announced. A notable example is Disney's The Emperor's New Groove, whose working title is Kingdom of the Sun, with an alternate plotline.
A title ruse is a practice by which a high-profile film or television series is given a fake working title to prevent undesired attention, price gouging by suppliers and casual theft. As such, purchase orders from vendors, outdoor signs, videocassettes and DVD labels will use the working title as well. Notable examples of ruse titles include Blue Harvest (Return of the Jedi), How the Solar System Was Won (2001: A Space Odyssey), Planet Ice (Titanic), Greenbrier (El Camino), Red Gun (House of the Dragon) and the Batman films Batman Returns, Batman Forever, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, which were produced under the titles Blinko, Dictel, The Intimidation Game, Rory's First Kiss, and Magnus Rex, respectively and Tenet, under the title Merry-Go-Round.
In some cases a working title may ultimately be used as the release title, as in the case of leading man Samuel L. Jackson insisting on title Snakes on a Plane, after he learned the title was going to be changed to Pacific Air Flight 121 upon release.
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