'Mother’s Day' Standoff: Two Movies With Same Title Set for Release Next May

Garry Marshall - H 2015
AP Images/Invision

Garry Marshall - H 2015

This town ain't big enough for the both of them: a romantic comedy and an indie drama, both tentatively entitled 'Mother's Day,' vie to keep their premium names.

A version of this story first appeared in the July 24 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Movies about mothers are a hot commodity in Hollywood. A pair of competing projects — both of which are currently titled Mother’s Day and weave together multiple storylines centered on mothers and motherhood — have surfaced and look to be finished in time for a Mother’s Day 2016 release.

Garry Marshall is mounting an ensemble film to star Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson and Jason Sudeikis. Meanwhile Paul Duddridge and Nigel Levy are co-directing the Danielle James- and Amy Williams-produced drama Mother’s Day with a cast that includes Susan Sarandon, Courteney Cox, Sharon Stone, Christina Ricci, Paul Wesley, Roselyn Sanchez and Eva Amurri Martino. Marshall is due to start shooting in August while the latter indie project has been shooting off and on for months to accommodate star schedules.

If both finish in time, what to do about the titles? Marshall says his team will raise the white flag. "Ours likely won’t be called Mother’s Day but I don’t know what the title will end up being," says the legendary filmmaker, who tells THR that he learned his lesson about titles way back in the Pretty Woman days. "It was originally called $3,000, and I was trying to be a gracious director and I got everyone a jacket that said ‘$3,000 Cast and Crew’ — but they changed the title! Now everyone has this jacket that is worth nothing. I’m not doing that again with Mother’s Day. I’m waiting for the final title."

That’s enough to please James and Williams, who add that their movie has been a labor of love from the start in 2012. "I’m a Buddhist at heart but it has been disappointing," Williams says. "We’re going to sit quietly and focus on getting ours done beautifully and wish everyone the best and let the chips fall where they may." Adds James: "I feel passionately about the title. We are going to continue what we set out to do. Garry has done some sensational movies but he has a certain brand and feeling. Ours is a drama with tour-de-force performances and a bit more edgy."

Marshall, who talked to THR on the red carpet at the 2015 Outfest LGBT Film Festival opening night screening of Tig at the Orpheum Theatre, is directing from a script by Anya Kochoff-Romano and Lily Hollander. Wayne Rice is producing alongside Gulfstream Pictures’ Mike Karz and PalmStar Media’s Kevin Frakes with CAA repping rights for the project.

The other pic is based on a concept by Duddridge, with Paige Cameron scripting the screenplay. "Everyone involved with this movie loves their mothers," says Williams, who notes that their production has already registered the title with the WGA. "This entire project is all mother-based, and our own children have infused the flavor of the journey."