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'Terminator: Genisys:' What's in a (misspelled) name?

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'Termintor: Genisys' is the latest Hollywood movie to flaunt spell-check
So, Arnold, what's the meaning behind the misspelling in 'Terminator: Genisys'?

"Terminator 2" told us that "The future's not set. There's no fate but what we make for ourselves." That said, we can't imagine what could happen between now and Judgment Day that would account for the curiously spelled title "Terminator: Genisys," which Arnold Schwarzenegger revealed as the name of the franchise's fifth installment on Wednesday.

The actor posted an Instagram photo of himself on the set of Paramount's sci-fi reboot, seated in a chair with the new title emblazoned across the back. "Hasta la vista, baby," reads the accompanying caption. "I want to thank the cast and crew of @TerminatorGenisys for a fantastic shoot."

Although the odd spelling of the Alan Taylor-directed movie was met with snickers on social media, "Genisys" is hardly the first Hollywood movie to have an intentionally misspelled title.

Some films use a misspelled title to play off a character's misspelling of words in the film itself. "Pet Sematary" is based on Stephen King's horror novel about a graveyard that brings the dead back to life, and in the book the burial ground is marked "pet sematary" by a sign created by children who apparently need to spend more time studying.

Similarly, "Biutiful," Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's dark drama about a single father facing death, takes its title from a young girl's misspelling of "beautiful."

In the Will Smith-starring drama "The Pursuit of Happyness," Smith's character goes out of his way to comment on the misspelling, which appears on a mural outside his son's daycare facility and is meant as a social comment of sorts.

Sometimes a misspelled title functions as a meta-joke, as in "Dumb and Dumberer" and the upcoming "Dumb and Dumber To," both of which nod to their characters' thickheadedness.

And then there's another category: The title that's misspelled because, well, someone likes it that way. Examples include Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds," David Cronenberg's "Existenz" (which does also tie into the plot) and the Dennis Rodman action flick "Simon Sez." (A close relative is Zach Braff's "Wish I Was Here," which grammarians have groused should be "Wish I Were Here.")

For all the Miss Thistlebottom-like complaints, though, a misspelled title can have an eye-catching quality and can be used to help market the film; although it vexed copy editors throughout the 2009-10 award season, "Inglourious Basterds" gave the movie a certain cool factor that helped draw eyes to the Tarantino stylefest.

Just what "Genisys" means, and which category it falls into, will be revealed when the movie hits theaters July 1, 2015.

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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