Disney's new animated film 'Moana' renamed in Italy to avoid porn star mix-up

Moana Pozzi, one of Italy's most celebrated adult film stars, shared a name with Disney's newest heroine

Disney's new animated film 'Moana' renamed in Italy to avoid porn star mix-up

[Disney]

Ahead of the release of its newest animated family film, Disney has made the decision to rename Moana in Italy to Oceania, with most Italian commentators believing the choice is an attempt to distance online searches for the original leading to the late Moana Pozzi, one of the most famous porn stars in the country.

Responding to a query by The Hollywood Reporter, a Disney spokesperson in California said that “the studio frequently changes titles in foreign territories for a wide variety of reasons,” though anecdotal evidence from the Annecy Festival, arguably the world’s biggest animation film festival, suggests links to the pornographic actress were the reason.

The film, which tells the tale of a 16-year-old Pacific Islander who is chosen to lead a mythical quest to save her people from a spreading blight, will be released in Italy on December 22nd, its new title referring to the collection of islands in the Pacific Ocean. The film has also undergone a title change is Spain and Portugal, where Moana is a registered trademark. In a number of European countries, the title character has been renamed Vaiana, meaning ‘water cave’.

But the Italian press believes that Disney Italia made the change to avoid younger viewers searching for the word Moana, only to find images of the famed porn star, a household name in Italy for the last three decades.

Pozzi, whose parents gave her the name Moana after reading it on a map of Hawaii, became an A-lister in Italy’s adult film industry, regularly appearing on TV shows where she became well known for candid interviews in which she criticised the media and conservatism, as well as advocating for sex-positive views and LGBT rights.

Pozzi would go on to write books and form a political party with Cicciolina, another famous porn star in Italy. Their Love Party saw Pozzi running in the Rome mayoral election of 1994, under a ticket promising legalised brothels and better sex education.

Moana Pozzi passed away after a short illness the same year, her legacy in Italy’s porn world guaranteed by having performed in more than 100 adult films that earned her a reported fortune of €26m.

Moana will be released in Irish cinemas on December 9th.

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