Director Kevin Smith has been forced to change the name of his new Bruce Willis cop comedy because studio bosses felt A COUPLE OF DICKS would lead to marketing issues.
The Clerks filmmaker wanted to use the controversial title for the forthcoming film, but changed his mind after learning commercials promoting the project would be banned from three of the top U.S. TV networks.
Smith, who encountered similar censorship issues with his 2008 Seth Rogen film Zack and Miri Make a Porno, admits it was a tough decision to make, and he likens the namechange - to Cop Out - to being castrated.
He tells EW.com, "Losing A Couple of DICks was almost akin to losing my own d**k. It was a perfect buddy-cop movie comedy title.
"You couldn't say that title to somebody without a f**king smile crossing their face. But what I had gone through with Zack and Miri Make a Porno - 'porno' had become very problematic - it became tough for us to advertise (the film).
"Warner Bros. decided, 'Hey man, we'll call the networks and see if we're going to get any problems (with A Couple of DICks as a title), months before the movie's ever going to come out.' The top three networks - CBS, ABC, NBC - said we can't run one of your spots before 9 o'clock."
Smith has credited bosses at Warner Bros. with fighting to keep his movie vision intact - but he realised the title had to go when his mum made him see sense.
He adds, "If I hadn't gone through Zack and Miri Make a Porno, I think I would have gotten my old-school f**king angry indie spirit, if you will: 'F**k it, we live or die by A Couple of DICks, or I take my name off the picture!' But even my mum was like, 'I might go see Zack and Miri, but I would never go see Zack and Miri Make a Porno.'"