Cholera has been defined as ... nope, I'm not going to spell it out -- I've got a weak stomach -- but if you don't know, here's the Wkipedia entry that will tell you more than you probably wanted to know about this particular affliction. Is the thought of cholera what's keeping people away from the new film by Mike Newell? Anne Thompson of Variety theorizes that Love in the Time of Cholera has not been helped by its title, which, when shortened, tends to be a word that "is not exactly a box office lure." The film opened this past weekend and earned $1.9 million, or about $2,247 per screen, according to Box Office Mojo.

Love in the Time of Cholera is an English translation of the original title of Gabriel García Márquez's novel "El amor en los tiempos del cólera." My Spanish isn't very good, but I'm pretty sure that's an accurate translation. Producer Scott Steindorff worked for more than two years to secure the rights to the book and the blessing of the Nobel Prize-winning García Márquez, according to the film's official site. After the first draft was completed, Steindorff and writer Ronald Harwood consulted with García Márquez, who reportedly told them: "The problem is that you and the writer have done too true of an adaptation -- you need to depart from the book." Steindorff says that García Márquez has "a great sense of humor," so they all laughed.

No one's laughing now, though the poor critical reception probably hurt as much or more than the title. I wonder if Steindorff ever brought up the idea of changing the title with the author? I'm certain somebody did at some point -- it's too obvious a potential marketing problem to ignore. Cholera may not be well-known today, but it's like smallpox or polio; it simply doesn't sound good, at least to me and, evidently, many other people. Yet the full title does have its supporters, like Cinematical's Erik Davis, who says it's one of his "favorite titles of all time for a number of reasons -- love is but a disease, after all." Did the title keep you from seeing this movie?