The English language was left reeling this week when it was discovered that one of its most popular punctuation marks, the question mark, has been abandoned by Hollywood.
The shocking news was confirmed as Columbia Pictures prepare for the UK release of their film How Do You Know, starring some people who don't matter and Jack Nicholson.
"I don't know what I've done to upset them," said a question mark when we tracked it down to a sleazy booze-den in London's east end, "but it's clear that my hard work on movies like Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?, Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? and Dude, Where's My Car? obviously wasn't good enough."
Research shows that the working title of How Do You Know did at one time include the question mark, but at some point it was clearly deemed surplus to requirements.
A spokesman for the film industry claimed that in these difficult financial times it made economic sense to lose the familiar interrogation point, despite it being employed at the end of almost every written question for nearly 800 years.
"Losing that stupid squiggle has saved $3 million on marketing alone," said the spokesman. "It's given us the freedom to redirect funds into printing the final word of the film's title in bold, which I'm sure you'll agree is a significant improvement. Also, you think Jack Nicholson comes cheap? Nuh-uh. When you've blown the whole budget on one massive star, well, you know... something's gotta give. Ha! Geddit?"
However, critics of the film industry claim the move is short-sighted and will lead to a drop in educational standards worldwide. "We've only just recovered from the Who Framed Roger Rabbit incident," said Barry Comma of the Institute of Tiresome Pedants. "Since that film was such a success, Hollywood seems to think that losing the question mark is the key to gargantuan box office. It's clear to me, though, that it's just been done to distract attention from that shot of Owen Wilson that looks like he's being anally violated."
It remains to be seen just how far-reaching the impact will be from this deeply irritating and apparently pointless decision, but one thing remains perfectly clear: that is one supremely shit film poster. No question.