Disney changed Moana’s title in many European countries, but Italy received the unique title of Oceania. Here’s the reason for Moana’s title change.
Disney’s animated hit Moana had a different title in Italy for a very unique reason. Disney’s animated movie empire is built on the back of princess stories, and it remains a key part of the company’s storytelling today. Newer releases like Frozen, Moana, and Raya and the Last Dragon introduced new Disney princesses who are incredibly popular with younger audiences. Released in 2016, Moana is a coming-of-age story following a young girl named Moana, who encounters demigods and plenty of adventure as she tries to save her people.
With the star power of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson playing the demigod Maui, Moana became a huge success for Disney. This was due to the combination of Moana‘s great story, stunning animation, Auli’i Cravalho’s performance as Moana, and a great soundtrack including contributions from Lin-Manuel Miranda. It received great reviews, a Best Animated Feature Film Oscar nomination, another Oscar nomination for the song “How Far I’ll Go,” and earned $645 million worldwide.
But depending on where in the world people saw Moana, they might know the great animated movie by another name. Disney retitled Moana in different countries, with most European countries using Vaiana. This change was reflected in the movie too, as Moana’s name was changed to Vaiana due to copyright issues. However, in Italy’s case, there was a much more specific reason behind the retitle.
Disney Changed Moana’s Title In Italy Due To An Unfortunate Name Clash
The Italian-language version of Moana kept the main character’s name as Vaiana, but switched the title to Oceana to avoid referencing a prominent adult film star well-known in Italy, Moana Pozzi. Pozzi rose to fame in Italy during the 1980s after experimenting with adult film, where she became the subject of controversy. Her first role was under an alias because she was the star of a TV show meant for kids. This only boosted Pozzi’s fame and led to her becoming more popular in the 1990s as she fully pursued adult films. Following her pornographic career, Moana Pozzi was a beloved figure in Italy for her on-screen work and her advocacy for LGBTQIA+ rights.
Disney never confirmed that Moana Pozzi’s name recognition led to Moana‘s title change in Italy, but it makes sense. The family-friendly studio would want to separate itself from an adult film actress and any chance of audiences associating their animated movie with Pozzi’s career. Even with Moana‘s different title in Italy, the movie still performed well (earning $16 million in the country), and the Oceania title refers to Moana‘s real-life Polynesian inspiration, so it still fits in well with the story. Since it went by Oceania there, Moana‘s performance can’t be attributed to confusion from unknowing moviegoers expecting something very different for a movie with a “Moana” involved.
What We Know About Moana 2: Release Date, Plot, Cast And More
Moana 2 has not been announced, nor does Disney seem to have any plans in the works for developing a sequel. While the original Moana was a huge success, including internationally, Disney now tends to focus primarily on developing new original content rather than churning out sequels. That said, Ralph Breaks the Internet and Frozen 2 met with robust success, so it’s not out of the question that Disney might one day revisit Moana. A Moana TV series was in the works pre-pandemic and may release in 2024 on Disney+, but details are sparse. As for the storyline and cast of any Moana 2 projects, it’s safe to assume that the eponymous heroine will continue to explore the ocean and have more adventures, hopefully with both new and old faces along for the ride. Whatever the case may be, Italy will likely keep its Moana name change in favor of Oceania to avoid any confusion with Moana Pozzi.
More: This Moana Theory Makes Maui’s Entire Story Ridiculous
- Moana (2016)Release date: Nov 23, 2016
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