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Localizing The Movies

Localizing The Movies

We know localizing content to suit a target audience can be tricky, even more so in Hollywood! The movie industry generates $38.6 billion per year globally, so localization of the movies message is the difference between a box office smash and a straight to DVD flop. We take a look at some of the differences between animated classic scenes versus their localized international alternatives in our latest blog. Enjoy!

Toy Story 2

We all love Woody and Buzz! But to make sure DreamWorks could market the film globally it had to be globalized. The scene which sees Buzz Lightyear stood in front of the American flag, was seen as too patriotic and promptly changed. The more globally friendly version shows Buzz stood in front of a globe, with the US national anthem also scrapped and instead a new score was created by Randy Newman called “The One World Anthem”.

Inside Out

An interesting concept, which was a surprise success across the world. The film about a little girl whose brain is controlled by her five main emotions; anger, fear, sadness, disgust and joy, which as a concept itself proved problematic in delivery due to the differing ways global audiences process emotive content. A simpler change and culturally interesting scene change sees Riley (the main character) as a baby with her Father trying to feed her broccoli, which we all know babies aren’t the biggest fan of! However, in Japan this scene was edited and Riley was given green pepper instead, as it transpires babies and infants in Japan love broccoli! Who knew?


One of the most successful and popular children’s films of the last decade, centres around a teenage girl who sets out on a mission to save her people. Yet Moana, the name of the main protagonist was changed for Italian audiences for a very good reason. In Italy Moana was already a name well known and made famous by an adult star. This obviously didn’t fit so well with the target audience of the film, therefore the Italian version was renamed Oceania.


It appears in various countries having a symbolic cultural reference in film is very much important. For example in the US version of Zootopia, the news anchorman (Peter Moosebridge) which is portrayed by, you’ve guessed it, a moose. However it was adapted and localized globally for difference audiences; for the Chinese version the anchorman is a symbolic Panda and for Brazil a Jaguar.

Wreck-It Ralph

Supporting character in the film Minty Zaki was created as tribute to Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki. Minty Zaki was one of the Asian themed sugar rush racers, however in Japan they went one step further by changing Minty’s look to an even more authentic Asian inspired theme and also her name, Minty Sakura. They wanted the character to be seen as culturally correct, rather than a homage to the Japanese culture.


We all know that fine foods and the French go hand in hand! In this animated classic about a friendly, food obsessed rat, who it turns out, is also a grade A chef, the authenticity of the Parisian factor of the film was questioned (by the French of course). So the distribution company localized all written content in the film including menus and newspapers to give it a bit more localization
‘Je ne sais quoi’.


Family favourite Up was ideal for young and old alike. One scene in the movie shows the front of Ellie’s scrapbook, a scene that is translated in to different languages across the globe and rumour has it to be one of the most localized scenes of any animated film in history. Also the image on the savings jar is changed from ‘Paradise Falls’ to simply an image of Paradise Falls, to save time translating to every other language the film was distributed in.

We hope you enjoyed our little exploration into the land of localized movies. Keep an eye out for more in our series of studies or read our previous posts here.

Written by : Marketing Assistant – Beth Zarkhosh

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