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Chinua Achebe Forced Title Name Change For 50 Cent’s “All Things Fall Apart” (Was Offered $1 Mill)

Chinua Achebe Forced Title Name Change For 50 Cent's "All Things Fall Apart" (Was Offered $1 Mill)

In my last post on this a few days ago, I speculated that the reason why the film’s title had been changed from Things Fall Apart (what it’s been called from the start), to All Things Fall Apart, was that the company distributing the film (Image Entertainment) may have been influenced by the fact that the original title is also the name of a seminal, well-known piece of literature by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, and wanted to avoid further confusion or hassle.

Well, earlier today, Clutch Magazine reported that Achebe did eventually learn that the film had the same title as his novel, and went on the offensive. And in reaction to that, “producers tried to pay Achebe $1 million to keep the name, but he declined” as Clutch notes; and thus the name change.

Wow! A cool million dollars! Apparently, 50 Cent really wanted to keep the name, but it was likely decided that the fight and potentially negative PR weren’t worth it.

So, I guess everyone’s happy now.

Image Entertainment acquired USA rights to All Things Fall Apart (formerly known as Things Fall Apart), the inspirational sports drama directed by Mario Van Peebles and starring Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Ray Liotta, Lynn Whitfield, and Tracey Heggins.

Image is reportedly looking at an early 2012 theatrical run, followed by a home video release.

The film will also screen at the 2011 installment of the Urbanworld Film Festival which runs this week. I’m planning to see it there; and if I do, you can bet I’ll review it afterward.

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Well when I heard movie was called Things Fall Apart I thought was was based on his book. I LOVE that book. Well I guess he was dead serious to turn down 1 million dollars..


How old was the poem when Achebe used part of its title (and stanzas) in his work?

There’s something called public domain or something, isn’t there? depending on time passed and whatnot… Like how many of Billy Shakespeare’s works’ forged into title of some related/unrelated feature.

I can see Achebe’s stance. He’s still alive and kicking and for all intents and purpose the title brings to mind ‘his’ novel of not so many years ago. Had 50 and ‘nem borrowed from Elliot or Emerson or Dubois’ titled works, then there wouldn’t be an issue…or offering of a million cool in payment for the borrowing thereof.

I do like both the old title and the new title, though I’m not 100 on seeing the film. But the title engages you and asks a question you hope the narrative will answer. Or not. :-)


Does it really matter?


Does it really matter?


Maybe, as Reg says, you can’t copyright a title but, to address MulletLove’s point, taking three words from an already well known poem and using it as the title for your novel isn’t quite the same as taking the same title as a well known novel and using it for your film, even/especially when the film is not an adaptation of the novel nor even bears any thematic resemblance.

On what basis would Achebe be sued? Every edition of Achebe’s Things Fall Apart I’ve ever seen actually quotes a whole stanza from the poem and attributes it to Yeats. Yes, I see how some folk do. THAT is how to borrow from other folk.


Even though I’ve heard nothing but bad news about the film, I won’t judge it until I see it.


Well I wouldn’t want to be associated with 50 Cent either…


No argument from me fellas.

I’m trying to get answers…


wow, what am i missing? 1) you can’t copywrite a title, can you? so fitty could name it “harry potter and the deathly hallows” and nobody could do shite about it, right? as long as the character “harry potter” is no where to be seen. that’s MY understanding. am i wrong? 2) and, if i’m even close, why does he care what achebe thinks? i like the book as much as anyone (and i hear the movie sucks), but i got no sympathy for the author here. even though i’m no fan of fitty.


Er…then who will sue Mr. Achebe? He lifted the title for his book from a poem called “The Second Coming” by William B. Yeats. See how folk do? Not that I’m a fan of Mr. Jackson, but still, come now, lol! Err’body borrows from err’body else. That’s what happens when a whole lotta people share a common language. Who can put a pricetag on that all the time?

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