Saturday, October 9, 2010

Rival Movies

Over the years I've noticed a trend coming out of Hollywood that I'd like to address. Many times different studios will release very similar movies that come out within months of each other. It makes me wonder if rival studio heads come together and say "lets see who can make a better movie starring someone who once played James Bond, but in this movie they will play an eccentric art thief who has a romantic interest with the younger woman who is assigned to investigate him". Then in 1999 both Entrapment and The Thomas Crown Affair are released at the same time.

Was it just a coincidence that 1492 and Christopher Columbus both came out in 1992?

The different movie makers must spy on each other and try to outdo the other. That is why you just happen to have two movies about the fight at the OK Coral released in 1993. Tombstone and Wyatt Earp.

"I heard another Studio is planning on making a movie about a volcano. We are going to miss out on the volcano craze if we don't compete. Ok, lets make one that comes out the same time, except ours will take place in downtown L.A." In 1997 Dante's Peak and Volcano are both in theaters at the same time.

Perhaps the rivalry as simple as getting a short e-mail challenge that says: Lame Mars science Fiction movie in 7 months! Several month later both Mission to Mars and Red Planet come out in 2000.

I saw Without Limits in 1998 which is a movie based on the life of long distance runner Steve Prefontaine. When I returned the video I noticed a movie called Prefontaine which was basically the same story that another studio released in 97.

What are the odds of having more than one action packed drama about a meteor headed towards earth that will wipe out the entire planet unless we can stop it.? Deep Impact and Armageddon both in 1998.

How about a gritty epic World War 2 movie with all star casts? Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line both came out in 1998.

For the longest time I honestly thought that Antz and A Bug's Life was the same movie. Apparently they are separate animated cartoons about ants that both came out in 1998.

In 2006 did you happen to see a suspense/mystery/drama about Magicians in the early 1900's in Europe? I have actually heard cases of people going to the theater and seeing the wrong movie because their friends weren't specific enough about which Magician movie they were recommending. The Prestige and The Illusionist were both good movies, but they reminded me of my theory about movie copycats.

Eagle Eye (2008) was about a rogue computer that frames the main character and tries taking over the government. A year later, The Echelon Conspiracy was released and had nearly the exact same story line.

So you can see that many movies have evil twins. If you can think of any other movies like this, let me know. Ideally they should be released within a year of each other. Also sequels obviously wouldn't count. I know there are many more out there, so let me know the next time you spot one.


freedompilot said...

It has to do with "cosmic consciousness." The is the same phenomenon that causes several people to invent the same thing at nearly the same time. But with inventions, only the first person there gets the credit. Sorry, Santos DuMont.

Kristina P. said...

Very interesting. I knew there were movies like that, but didn't realize the trend.

Were Twilight and 2012 both released the same year? They both felt like the world was ending, to me.

Kal said...

This is an old old trend (Apocalypse/Deep Impact) and now you also get a third movie to come from Asylum of the Sci Fi network. Remember their Sherlock Holmes movie only with dinosaurs? A good idea is a good idea and studios hate to take chances. They love to jump on the latest bandwagon - look at all the 3-D movies that have already come up and there is not a major feature coming out in the next year that doesn't also have a 3-D version on IMAX out there.

Cheeseboy said...

Interesting. There is so much truth to it. I thought the same thing about the Illusionist and the Prestige at the time. However, the Prestige was twice the movie, imo.

M-Cat said...

Agreeing with Cheeseboy about The Prestige.

I never noticed so much about the dual movie themes.

Kinda dumb actually. There is always going to be one that is better than the other. I suppose it sucks to be the bad one!

Eric said...

I think you are really on to something there. 'Troy', 'Alexander' and then shortly after 'Kingdom of Heaven'. Maybe they got discounts on the costumes for filming them all at the same time?

Pearl said...

I'll keep an eye out. :-)

Honestly, I think they do that so as to maximize the supplemental aspects, aka merchandising...


Raine said...

I hate it because when I think back on the movies I can't remember which one I saw.

Laura said...

The theory I have heard, is that since writers send scripts around to different studios and/or directors, often they won't like the exact script or storyline, but like the idea it. Then they get their own writers to come up with something they do want to work with, and then make that movie. Since the script is going around to the studios at the same time, they come up with the ideas around the same time, and then start making the film before they realize it will be rivaling another one.