- Snakes on a Plane nearly had a different title until Samuel L. Jackson fought the studio, highlighting his role in preserving the iconic name.
- The movie’s absurd plot and viral nature relied heavily on its title, which informed audiences of what to expect and generated online traction.
- The movie’s different title could have resulted in a disappointing performance, as the name “Snakes on a Plane” was what got fans excited early on and contributed to its cult classic status.
Snakes on a Plane nearly had a different title until Samuel L. Jackson fought the studio. The movie, directed by David R. Ellis, premiered back in 2006 and follows Neville Flynn (Jackson), an FBI agent tasked with escorting a murder witness from Hawaii to California, who is forced into action when venomous snakes get released on their passenger flight. Along with Jackson, the movie starred Nathan Phillips, Julianna Margulies, Rachel Blanchard, Flex Alexander, Bobby Cannavale, and more.
While Snakes on a Plane managed to generate discourse at the time, Jackson revealed that the movie was almost called something completely different. During an interview with Vulture, the actor shared that there was studio interest in changing its title, so that its premise would not get spoiled, only for him to step in and fight the idea. Read Jackson’s reflection below:
I signed on, and then I don’t know what happened. In the midst of all that, the director got fired. I was like, ‘Oh, well I’m still going to do it. F—k that.’ When I got there, they were trying to change the name of it to something like Pacific Flight 121, ‘Cause we don’t want to give it away.’ I was like, ‘That’s exactly what you want to do! Hell is wrong with you? I signed up for Snakes on a Plane and I guarantee you that audiences will be way more excited about Snakes on a Plane than Pacific Flight 121.‘
Why Snakes On A Plane Was The Perfect Title
Snakes on a Plane gained a lot of traction online, largely due to its title, which humorously informed audiences of what to expect. Comparisons to B-movies were made and overall, the advertising seemed to highlight its absurd plot, depicting the aircraft’s loss of control, as well as one couple’s intimate moment in the bathroom being interrupted by multiple snakes attacking. Although the movie’s name worked as a means for getting viewers interested, this viral nature would not quite translate to its box office as Snakes on a Plane was deemed a disappointment.
Considering what Snakes on a Plane is about, it still feels appropriately titled, and is hard to imagine what exactly would have been revealed if it tried to keep the premise a secret. It features a number of memorable scenes, which include some of Jackson’s most memorable lines, made all the more iconic with the infamous TV dubs. When it comes to snake encounters, one notable sequence involves the whole plane getting attacked and a large python getting a woman’s dog.
It is worth wondering how audiences would have responded to the movie’s different title, and if the conversations surrounding Snakes on a Plane would have changed at all. As Jackson pointed out, the name is what got fans excited early on, much like that of the similarly genred Eight Legged Freaks a few years prior. Had Snakes on a Plane gone with another title, it might have had more of a disappointing performance and not become the cult classic it is today.