Should a film be released theatrically with English subtitles even if it is entirely in English?
The premiere of the upcoming UK comedy “Attack the Block” stole the show at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas last weekend though days later the film has yet to lock down a North America distributor.
As the film follows a bunch of rough inner city British street kids, the South London accents have proven a little hard to understand by some executives.
It has gotten to the point that there is talk of having subtitles for a North American release, or even buying the rights for a Hollywood remake of the film.
It’s hardly a new issue, a few years a “Mad Max” DVD release in the U.S. contained the original Hollywood dubbing track, and the original audio track which was dubbed ‘Australasian English’. Of course that’s a DVD where English subtitles are always optional and at the discretion of the user.
‘Block’ isn’t the kind of film that would receive more than a limited release in select cities, yet theatrically releasing a British film with English subtitles on every copy comes off as laughable – certainly unprecedented.
Would it solve anything? Often it isn’t the difference in accents but rather the difference in slang that leads to people switching on English subtitles during English-speaking films and shows.