Before Death Proof's real title shows on screen, for a split second the title Thunderbolt is shown.

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This is one of the editing techniques used to make the film have the grindhouse look. From the wiki:

Exploitation films were commonly retitled, especially if they received bad press on initial release.

But what is Thunderbolt? Is this some reference to another movie or to something within this movie?

  • I understand why the 'fake re-title'. I'm asking about the meaning of Thunderbolt. My google results just show software and Pokémon. Why this specific title? Edited for clarity. – BlueMoon93 May 9 '17 at 13:25
  • Any idea what it says under Thunder Bolt? – Mr. Kennedy May 9 '17 at 14:08
  • @BlueMoon93 You say "I understand why the 'fake re-title'.", but your question is titled "Why is Death Proof presented as Thunder Bolt for a brief moment?" – BCdotWEB May 9 '17 at 14:19
  • @Mr.Kennedy It's studio and distribution lines, I think. – BlueMoon93 May 9 '17 at 14:31
  • @BCdotWEB I've edited the title as well – BlueMoon93 May 9 '17 at 14:32

It seems that someone, who had originally claim on this title, sued the distributor. That's why it got changed in the last minute.

From IMDb

It also sets out to pastiche the "grindhouse" cinema phenomena, with the original idea of two films being shown as a double feature at drive-in movie theatres from state to state, with both films often being re-cut and re-edited, not by the filmmakers, but by the theatre owners themselves. This is evident in the amusing switch in title; with the film opening with the caption 'Quentin Tarantino's Thunderbolt', before awkwardly cutting to an obviously out of place title card with 'Death Proof' crudely emblazoned across the screen.

From Indiewire

Even the title card, jarringly superimposed over the opening credits, looks like a last-minute replacement for an original title (“Thunderbolt”) that was changed by, say, a flighty distributor who got sued by someone who had a prior claim on that name.

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  • 2
    This sounds like just an example of why such retitles happened. E.g., it may have been due to a distributor who got sued. – BlueMoon93 May 9 '17 at 14:33

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