THE RAID: REDEMPTION Director Explains Title Change

Simon de Bruyn, Contributing Writer
As Al Young's speculative post about the addition of a subtitle to The Raid's US title is still generating heated comments from readers -- despite a reasonable and refreshingly honest illuminating statement from director Gareth Evans pasted into the comments -- I thought I'd post Evans' full response here. 

From Evans' blog

So a few days ago, [the trailer] went up... And then a few minutes later, I get about one or two hundred emails and tweets asking me with horror about the title change on The Raid. So now seems a good a time as any to address the situation and give a little more info on why we changed it. 

Truthfully, none of us, the guys at [Sony Pictures Classics] included, wanted to change the title from the original. But once we knew we were going to expand the film into a sequel - possibly a trilogy it opened our eyes up to maybe the need for an all encompassing title that could work for all three films. 

At first it was just something we toyed around with as an idea to start using with part 2, but then it became an essential thing to do from the get go. The reason why: we found out "The Raid" itself was not available for us to use as a title in the US. 

We couldn't get clearance on it and believe me we all tried but with that task becoming impossible and a release date looming - we chose to go with our idea to add a word that reflected one of the elements from the first film. Redemption was the one that fit, and it beat losing The Raid completely after all the work we'd done to establish awareness of the film. 

As a film fan that only very recently found myself as part of the industry I do understand the backlash but as someone closely involved in the decision making progress alongside SPC, it was disheartening to see them being bashed for it. 

So that's why I chose to give a little more insight into it. 

This wasn't an "evil studio" thing, the decision had nothing at all to do with the proposed remake. This was a situation we were all forced into. You guys may not love the new addition to the title, and I'm not about to go and say Redemption is perfect, cos it's not - we all much prefer the simplicity of The Raid. 

But the film, it is still the same film we screened at festivals and all I hope is that you all read whatever part of that 5 second titlecard you want to when it pops up on screen, forget the rest and enjoy seeing my good friends beat the shit out of each other for 100 mins. 

Also Twitch's own Todd Brown, who executive produced The Raid, has this to add:

The problem is with Fox, not with WB. It goes back to a 1954 war movie and the copyright is plenty clear on it. Sony tried to get clearance to use it, Fox said no.

I'm not up on this part of copyright law so, someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe there was a change made at some point so it's much harder (if not impossible) to do so now but some older titles are still held. All I know for sure is that we were told pretty bluntly that we couldn't use it in the US.

Hear, hear. As someone who has seen the movie, I'll add that "redemption" is certainly a theme -- indeed it's the major theme of the subplot. So I'm not sure how people can say otherwise. Although I did have someone recently tell me that Collateral was "just an action movie" so perhaps some people just can't see through an adrenalin haze. 

And for those wondering about the Australian release, Madman Films will release the film in over 50 cinemas the same week it opens in the US and Indonesia. And yes, Gareth Evans is also the name of our former foreign minister. Heh.
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