This makes sense but I hadn’t quite thought about it. ‘Alphastacking’, or movie titles optimised to appear, alphabetically, at the top of a sorted list. If I recall correctly, traditionally authors with surnames starting with ‘D’ have been in the optimal shelf-browsing positions, but electronic book shelves are very different, and I suspect a little more like these movie listings.
For many movies these days, the shortest route to the top of the charts is through the alphabet.
Film studios have figured out that, all else being equal, it’s better for a movie to appear toward the top of the A-to-Z listings where people increasingly pick what they’re going to watch next.
I wonder how much of this is going to trickle over into book titles:
Bales is hardly bashful about the practice. “It’s not something we’re doing. It’s a choice the consumer is making,” he reasons. “Americans are lazy people. They can’t be bothered to go past ‘L.’”
That made me think about numbers, and, well:
His only regret is that, with others catching onto the idea, starting a movie with “A” is no longer enough. In most alphabetical listings, letters are preceded by numbers, and indeed, films produced by the Asylum recently include 100 Below Zero, 13/13/13, and 500 MPH Storm. Bales’s favorite example, released last year, is #holdyourbreath, the hashtag symbol in its first character topping both letters and numbers in video-on-demand (VOD) listings. “It worked,” he says proudly. “It’s one of our best-performing VOD movies.”
I winced a little, is all I’m saying.