When we store titles in the database, we use the original title of a movie/show in its original language as it appears on screen in the opening credits at the time of its first public release or screening (including festival premieres). If a film is subsequently retitled, we will list the new title as an alternative title. (Where there is a conflict between the "original language" and "first screening" clauses in the first sentence, the "original language" clause wins.)
We also associate the year of first public screening with each title as an aid to recognizing and distinguishing similar titles. For TV titles this is the broadcast year of the first episode. For movie titles this year is either the year of general release or of a festival presentation if earlier (note that closed screenings for the crew or the media or test screenings of the unfinished product for marketing reasons do not count as public screenings).For unreleased titles or films with unknown release dates, we will display "(????)" instead of a year until its release date is determined. In some cases where a future release date has been projected for a title, a year in the future will display for that title. These formatting rules refer to the way we store titles, i.e. how new titles should be formatted when submitted to the database. Titles may sometimes be displayed in a different way to improve legibility.
If you are uncertain how to categorize a title (miniseries, TV movie, theatrical, etc.), please see this guide.
Please note that we do NOT create separate new titles for each season of a TV-show so the year used is the year the show first aired. Because we now store credits on a per-episode basis, you can indicate a person's participation in a series by the specific episodes they worked on.
Articles now remain where they occur in the title. This was a policy change in April 2009.El Cid or La Bamba.
One exception to the "as it appears on screen" rule: Author or filmmaker possessives such as Bram Stoker's Dracula, Disney's The Kid, or Andy Warhol's Flesh are used only in alternate titles with the attribute (complete title).
Subtitles are separated from the main title with a colon for English titles and a '-' for German titles IF the title on the 'film' uses no separator. Other languages are not (yet) standardized. If the title on the 'film' already uses a separator it is used. A subtitle can be identified by either appearing on a separate screen from the main title, or being in a significantly smaller font.
Example movie titles to illustrate these rules:
TV episode titles follow similar rules, except that they include optional sequence numbers instead of years. Episode titles follow the series titles in braces (also known as "curly brackets"). If there is neither a name or number, the original air date is used, in the form yyyy-mm-dd.
Example episode titles to illustrate these rules (some modified for illustrative purposes):
Note that these titles are not the titles displayed on the main pages; however, they are displayed in the correct format on the first screen after you begin the update process.