LONDON — The Warner Bros. summer-hit kids' movie, "Free Willy," about a boy who helps return a captive whale to its natural habitat, is to open in Britain in February--but English audiences are already reacting.
The trailer for the film, which grossed nearly $77 million in the United States, is already playing at several theaters around England. But instead of the misty-eyed heartstring reaction the film received in the States, the trailer is being greeted with giggles and guffaws.
If that surprises you, then you're probably unaware that in Britain "willy" is the common slang for penis. Which gives the title of Warners' feel-good family film quite a different spin.
"We giggled a bit when we first heard about the film," admitted London-based Peter Dunne, Warner Bros. publicity manager for the United Kingdom. "But there was no consideration given to changing the title. Once you see the film, it's clear what 'Willy' refers to--it's the name of the whale."