Can someone explain reasons behind changing "Moana" movie's title to "Vaiana" in certain countries?

At first I thought that this is only my home country's (Poland) weird translation invention, but I have just noticed that "Moana" is called "Vaiana" also in French version of this movie.

  • 2
    Moana is an ice cream brand in Romania. Needless to say, they used the name Vaiana here as well.
    – Felix
    Aug 6, 2017 at 10:12
  • 1
    In Italy instead the movie and the main character were (apparently) renamed not because of some copyright issues but because the name Moana (although 23 years have passed since her death in 1994) is still inextricably connected to the pornstar Moana Pozzi
    – Pesetas74
    Aug 7, 2017 at 14:34

1 Answer 1


It's a trademark issue

Disney’s alteration of film and character names is not an uncommon occurrence for French versions of English films. With past movie name changes including the likes of Finding Nemo that became Le Monde de Nemo (The World of Nemo) despite the Quebec French language version remainining Trouver Nemo (Finding Nemo). However the swap from Moana to Vaiana was claimed to be due to possible trademark issues that the name posed in Europe. With Disney Spain tweeting that “The ‘Moana’ mark is registered in Spain and in some European countries. So the film ‘Moana’, will be Vaiana.”

The Monsoon Project

The reasons behind the change of name are not completely clear, but a tweet from Disney España gives an important clue: ‘Moana’ is registered as a trademark in Spain, and in a number of other European countries, hence the change to Vaiana in Europe. According to the INDAC blog, one of the creators of the cartoon, John Musker, also confirmed this information at the last Annecy Film Festival. ‘Moana’ is not legally available for use in most European countries and, given that ‘Vai’ means ‘water’ and ‘Moana’ means ‘ocean’, the sense is ultimately the same.


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