I love this kind of stuff: Scanning the Journal of Consumer Research — sounds boring, I know — The New York Times spies a study that finds movie audiences prefer sequels with names over those with numbers in the title:
In one study, subjects were shown a made-up movie title — Daredevil 2 or Daredevil: Taking It to the Streets — and asked to read a plot summary. Those who saw the second title spent more time reading the summary, remembered more, and rated the hypothetical movie more highly.
“People are looking for some kind of cue that the movie is dissimilar, and you can do that either through the title or through the plot,” one of the study’s authors said.
Although I now have that damned Doobie Brothers song stuck in my head, the research might help to explain the use of X-Men: The Last Stand instead of X3.