Sometimes people come up with a name that is perfectly reasonable for a work but is not reasonable for a franchise and with a new franchise being built, they have to go back and rename the work for all future promotional materials.
This can often come about because the title of the first work depends heavily on an element in that work but not in the others. Possibly, the executives have chosen a theme to market and name the series (such as the lead character's name) and the early installment is the odd man out.
Naturally this can be happening when you have a first work that nobody was sure was going to be popular and so they didn't think of a franchise when naming it. It can also happen during an adaptation process — book series often also only pick up a series name much further down the line, often unofficially, and often don't bother with this process. When they come to being adapted to another medium, somebody will have plans for a franchise but not a name.
Subtrope of Retronym
, can help lead to Early Installment Weirdness
- Raiders of the Lost Ark was later renamed to Indiana Jones and the Raiders Of The Lost Ark.
- First Blood led to the sequel Rambo: First Blood Part II and the third film is called Rambo III, dropping the First Blood part of the title. Confusingly enough, the fourth film is simply titled Rambo, the original plan being to mirror what was done with Rocky Balboa and call it John Rambo (as it was in some regions).
- The book The Lost World was adapted into the movie The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Not as cheap as it seems, considering there already was a famous dinosaur adventure story called The Lost World — one which had directly inspired Michael Crichton, and (to make things more complicated) inspired the evolution theory which Crichton's book The Lost World was named after. People could have been forgiven for getting confused.
- The British comedy films Follow That Camel and Call Me A Cab were re-titled when the producers realized they were Carry On films in all but name. So they became Carry On... Follow That Camel! and Carry On Cabby.
- The first Star Wars film was originally called just Star Wars. The 1980 sequel, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, featured an episode number and subtitle in the opening crawl as part of its Genre Throwback nature to give the impression of a long running film serial. When the original film was re-released in 1981, Episode IV: A New Hope was added above the original opening crawl.
- Following Twilight, the film adaptations of the novels New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn all carried the supertitle The Twilight Saga.
- The sequels to Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney all carried the "Ace Attorney" name, since some of the sequels (namely Apollo Justice and Ace Attorney Investigations) don't actually star Phoenix Wright.
- In Japan, The Mystery of Mamo was originally titled Lupin III, but with two television series, a live-action film, and another movie on the way, they had to retitle it to distinguish what the movie was. It is now officially known as Lupin III: Lupin vs. the Clone.
- Happened briefly with the Friday the 13th series when Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday and Jason X were named after the central slasher instead.
- The yearly Halloween special animations by Aitor Molina were called The Halloween Revenge and numbered. Since the fourth installment was the first with a solid story and established the Shared Universe, it was renamed "Infernals & Lemons" after the "Infernals & Lemons" story.
- The tradition of calling "The Halloween Revenge" plus number was stopped because the fifth part was delayed until it became its own thing. "Infernals & Yrions" became the canon fifth installment and The Fantasia Revenge the sixth. The numeric system was abandoned to make animations at any moment under the name "The X Revenge".
- The third collaboration between Oscar and Aitor is being announced as "Infernals 3" before giving an official name.