Disney Changes 'Moana' Title in Italy to Avoid Porn Star Confusion

Courtesy of Disney
'Moana'

Thanks to the rebrand to 'Oceania,' Italian families searching for the latest animated Disney film online will not be at risk of stumbling upon vintage pornography.

Walt Disney has renamed its upcoming animated feature Moana in Italy, calling it Oceania.

The change has most in Italy believing that one of the country’s most beloved porn stars, the late Moana Pozzi, was the reason behind the change. Disney Italia has not yet responded to a query about the name change.

A Disney source in California said only “the studio frequently changes titles in foreign territories for a wide variety of reasons.” Secondhand sources claim the film’s directors confirmed the late porn star’s influence at this year's Annecy Festival.

"On a mystic island in Polynesia, the 16-year-old strong-willed daughter of the chief of the tribe, Moana from Motunui Island, is chosen by the ocean itself to reunite the Heart of Te Fiti," according to a plot description of the film. "She sets sail in search of Maui, a legendary demigod and hopes to save her people."

The film will be released as Oceania in Italy on Dec. 22, referring to the region of islands in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Elsewhere in Europe, the film has the title Vaiana, or “water cave.” Disney Spain confirmed that the name change was the result of Moana being a registered brand in Spain and other European countries. The title character throughout Europe has the name "Vaiana" instead of "Moana."

Films frequently take on different names when translating titles to a local market, especially in Italy, where most movies are watched dubbed. In Italy, Cinderella became Cenerentola, after the original Basile fairy tale. Frozen in Europe took on the original U.S. title The Snow Queen, or O Reino del Gelo in Portuguese, Il regno di ghiaccio in Italy, El reino del hielo in Spain, and La reine des neiges in France, or simply Frost in Nordic countries. 

With Disney having announced the Italian title over a year ago, before Vaiana was announced, most Italian press is in agreement that Disney is trying to distance the film from the famed porn star. Practically speaking, the media agrees, Disney Italy would be smart to avoid minors doing a Google image search for "Moana" in Italy. 

Disney's Moana features an independent young female protagonist who isn’t saved by a male hero. But for Italians, Moana has already been a household name for the last 30 years.

Named Moana, meaning deep sea, after her parents found it on a a map of Hawaii, Pozzi first became a public name after starring in her first adult film, Valentina, Girl in Heat, while also working on children’s show Tip Tap Club on Rete 2. Although she denied it was her on film, she was suspended from TV, which created a huge spike in her popularity in the media. Allegedly Federico Fellini wanted to cast her in Ginger and Fred.

Her fame grew after her first A-level porn film, Fantastica Moana, and she eventually passed the success of Italy’s favorite porn star (and one-time Jeff Koons spouse) Cicciolina. A regular on TV shows, Pozzi was also celebrated for publicly speaking her mind, whether denouncing the media or advocating for gay and sexual rights.

She was known as a woman of both brains and beauty. Her first book in 1991, Moana’s Philosophy listed her alleged celebrity lovers, including Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro, Roberto Benigni and Italy’s former prime minister Bettino Craxi.

She went on to found the Love Party of Italy with Cicciolina and ran for mayor of Rome under a platform of legalizing brothels, boosting sex education and creating “love parks.” In 1994, she was the subject of her own cartoon film, Moanaland. She died the same year at the age of 33.

Pozzi starred in more than 100 adult films throughout her career. She left a reported fortune of 26 million euros, which translates into $27.5 million based on current exchange rates, and inspired several films posthumously, including Look at Me and The Secrets of Moana.

Moana is being released in the U.S. on Nov. 23. 

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