Steve Rogers has super strength, speed and endurance, as well as super healing abilities. He even has the super name of Captain America. But for the upcoming Captain America: The First Avenger, the hero's name will have to wear a mask in few markets overseas.
In Russia, South Korea, and the Ukraine, Captain America will be shorted to its subtitle, The First Avenger.
The L.A. Times reported that this name change is based on "brand management and consumer awareness and not a decision titled by cultural or political winds." In other words, some are more familiar with Captain America as the leader of the superhero group the Avengers than they are with his own adventures.
The L.A. Times wrote:
In private, Marvel insiders said that early on in the project's planning there was talk that the title might need to be changed in numerous international markets but that there was a "pleasant surprise"—the brand recognition of the comic-book superhero was so strong that it overrode those considerations in many places. That was not the case in Russia, South Korea and the Ukraine.
Title changes aren't uncommon. Famously, the first Harry Potter book was changed from the British Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone to the American Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Scholastic book publishers, who purchased the book from U.K. publisher Bloomsbury, didn't think a book with the word "philosopher" in the title would appeal to U.S. audiences.
The name change worked, and Harry Potter became one of the best-selling children's books of all time. Will The First Avenger earn that kind of acclaim? We'd never know if in South Korea, Ukraine and Russia it was given the unfamiliar name of Captain America.