Promotional posters and websites for cinemas in the UK are referring to the new Pirates of the Caribbean film by the subtitle "Salazar's Revenge".

What is the reason for this change? Is it related to a title with a similar name in the UK like what happened with the Avengers film clashing with an old television series?

  • 5
    On Stranger Tides was the previous film. Though I can't blame you for getting confused; I only found out a few days ago that Dead Men Tell No Tales and Salazar's Revenge are the same movie.
    – Ixrec
    Commented May 29, 2017 at 0:41
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    @Shokhet There used to be an old series called The Avengers (there was a movie based on the series with Ralph Feinnes and Uma Thurman) and it is often confused with the Comics/movies of the same name. Your edit about Disney is completely incorrect
    – Machavity
    Commented May 29, 2017 at 3:25
  • @Machavity Ah, thank you. I completely misunderstood the post. Thank you for explaining! (FYI your ping didn't work, but I came back to check what happened to my edit. If you're in chat, I'm usually pingable in The Restaurant. Thanks for explaining :)
    – Shokhet
    Commented May 29, 2017 at 3:44
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    For the curious, the phrase 'dead men tell no tales' dates back to Plutarch idiomation.wordpress.com/2017/02/16/dead-men-tell-no-tales Commented May 29, 2017 at 10:39

4 Answers 4


The subtitle "Salazar's Revenge" is being used for this film in a number of countries worldwide.

Films are often re-titled for local markets for various reasons:

  • The title doesn't translate well into the local language, or contains an obscure reference. For example "Live Free or Die Hard" was known as "Die Hard 4" outside the USA because the original title references the motto of the state of New Hampshire, a reference that would not be understood in other countries. In this case, the old proverb "Dead men tell no tales" may be unfamiliar in non-English speaking countries, and/or there is easy translation that carries the same sense of meaning.
  • Sensitivity to recent events. Films, music and events are often renamed in the wake of wars, terrorism and major catastrophes to avoid negative associations and accusations of insensitivity. For example, in the early 1990s British group "Massive Attack" temporarily shortened their name to "Massive" to avoid controversy due to the Gulf War. The "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" were originally marketed as "Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles" in the UK due to the perceived negative and violent associations of the word "ninja".

Given that the proverb "dead men tell no tales" is fairly well known in the UK, it's possible that the name "Dead Men Tell No Tales" was considered too controversial and potentially insensitive for the UK market (maybe related to the recent history of terror attacks in the UK and Europe) and therefore the alternative international title was used instead.

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    Do you have a source for this supposed "Terrorist reasoning", this seems like an incredibly speculative answer.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented May 29, 2017 at 12:51
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    @Edlothiad you are reading to much into the mention of terrorist attacks - the point is that films and other media are often renamed during times of public sensitivity to violence, war or death. There are many examples of this and I've already provided some above. The recent terror attacks are just an example of the kind of event that leads to this sensitivity, I could have equally used less contemporary examples like the Gulf War of the 1990s.
    – user22478
    Commented May 29, 2017 at 22:09
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    "the old proverb 'Dead men tell no tales' may be unfamiliar in non-English speaking countries" - while that is very true (I had no idea it was a proverb), personally, I'd find that unfamiliarity with the proverb irrelevant in a case like this where the meaning of the proverb is so easily understood because the proverb literally means what it says. Commented Jul 2, 2017 at 20:03

Besides the two possible reasons for name changes that Nathan mentions in his answer (avoiding obscure references and sensitivity to recent events), there is a third possibility: legal disputes over the trademark. Someone else in the UK may have claimed the phrase "Dead Men Tell No Tales" as their intellectual property, leading Disney to fall back to the alternate title it had already developed.

Unfortunately, I cannot find any definite information to say whether this is or is not the case. But I have found a 1938 British film called Dead Men Tell No Tales, so if there was a trademark dispute, that film might be the source.

As a side note, the earliest reference to the UK name change that I can find is this Yahoo! Movies post from last October.

  • I agree with the possibility of a trademark issue, I missed that in my answer. However I didn't mean to imply that this name change was directly related to the Manchester bombing, I was using this as an illustration of the type of event the distribution and marketing companies take into account when deciding the re-name for a local market. I've edited my answer to make this clearer.
    – user22478
    Commented May 29, 2017 at 4:39
  • @Nathan Sounds reasonable. I've edited my own answer to remove the criticism.
    – MJ713
    Commented May 29, 2017 at 4:47
  • The already present film may indeed be the reason. The same thing happened to Zootopia/Zoomania and (with the additional hitch of a porn-actresses biography being the title-carrier first!) Moana/Vaiana.
    – Layna
    Commented May 29, 2017 at 14:00

First time here; I discovered this thread via Google whilst trying to find the answer of the film's renaming myself. Having not found anything conclusive, I did some more digging and believe I've identified the answer.

If you look the film up on IMDb and go into the page listing international release dates and titles, one needs only a basic understanding of language to deduce that Salazar's Revenge is the title everywhere except North America and Portugal.

In other words, DMTNT is the exception, and SR the rule. It doesn't take a genius to deduce, then, that Salazar's Revenge must be Disney's preferred title for the film, but something stopped them calling it that in those two territories noted above.

To put it another way: the original question here, and on other similar posts around the web, is looking at the name the wrong way around. Salazar's Revenge is the main title, with Dead Men Tell No Tales being the renamed, secondary choice.

So why would Disney not use SR in those territories? A quick Google provides pretty compelling possibilities.

  • In the case of Portugal, the country's 100th Prime Minister, in office for the incredibly long period of 1932 - 1968, was named Salazar.

  • For North America, a man named Ken Salazar was Secretary of the Interior under Barack Obama from 2009 to 2013, and was to play a key role should Hillary Clinton have won the Presidency in 2016.

There are references to Dead Men Tell No Tales having bean POTC 5's working title since at least 2013, if not earlier, so it doesn't seem an unfair assumption that, feeling they were unable to use the preferred subtitle for the film, they simply stuck with what it was already being referred to as.

I have no association with Disney and can't say in complete certainty that my theory is correct, but it seems compelling enough to me to be worth sharing. I hope someone finds it helpful, or at least of interest.

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    It is "Dead Men Tell No Tales" here in New Zealand as well. Commented May 31, 2017 at 0:23
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    I am an American, and I like to think of myself as reasonably well-informed about politics, and I can honestly say I've never heard of Ken Salazar before. But it's an interesting theory.
    – MJ713
    Commented May 31, 2017 at 2:13
  • I wanted to say the Dutch title is also "Dead Men Tell No Tales" (we very rarely translate titles), but I googled and it's indeed "Salazar's Revenge". I never knew. Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 12:36

If you've seen the teaser trailer to Pirates of the Caribbean 5 you'll know that Salazar is the film's primary villain, played by Javier Bardem. The film will follow Salazar and his ghost pirate crew as they attempt to kill every pirate in the caribbean, but there's a special target on the back of one Captain Jack Sparrow.

There's no specific word on why the change was made though in reporting the news Den of Geek theorizes that it has to do with what trade marks are available. If there was difficulty getting the trademark for Dead Men Tell No Tales in the UK because of similarly titled projects, then Disney would change the name so they could secure a trademark on a different name. The name change isn't only happening in the UK. The name change also covers the film's release in France, Italy, and Spain.

There's one significant positive to the name change in Europe. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is a mouth full. It's a really long title that just doesn't flow very well when you're trying to discuss it with people. Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge loses the connection to the refrain that you hear repeated throughout the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland, but it's a heck of a lot easier to say.

  • "Dead Men Tell No Tales is a mouth full." - not only that. Except for Salazar's quoting of that title at the end of the teaser, the title is woefully unrelated to the film. "Dead Men Tell No Tales" would fit any other of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies just as well. Commented Jul 2, 2017 at 19:58

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