How many twin films do you think you could name? Obviously we’re not talking about The Shining‘s creepy Grady twins or the Olsen twins in their many, many movies (don’t deny it girls, you know you’ve watched them). No, we’re talking about two different films that have similar, on the borderline of identical, plots that are produced and released by two separate studios around the same time. Sounds rare, right? Here’s a few pretty popular examples:
Both Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove and Sidney Lumet’s Fail Safe were released within months of one another in 1964, both covering the idea of an accidental nuclear war. Luckily, Dr. Strangelove was satirical whereas Fail Safe was a drama, both handling the plot in different ways.
In 1985, the two zombie based horror flicks were released almost simultaneously. Although both films did pretty well, it was George A Romero’s Day of the Dead that triumphed over its box office opponent, grossing over 30 million dollars world wide whereas The Return of the Living Dead brought in less than half of that at 14 million dollars.
Both films centred around dinosaurs and their recreation in a modern world, though in Jurassic Park they’re recreated with good intention whereas in Carnosaur, they’re made to bring destruction to humanity. With the dinosaurs in Carnosaur being described as ‘laughable’, especially in comparison to those in Jurassic Park which are phenomenally ahead of their time and scarily realistic, is there any need to tell you who won this prehistoric cinematic battle?
Both animated films about the adventures of bugs with humanoid characteristics, both with a main character of an adolescent ant who attempts to win a princess’ heart by saving their society. It’s believed this isn’t just one big coincidence, some going as far to believe that when the now CEO of Dreamworks Jeffrey Katzenberg left his old job at Disney, he took the idea of a film, then called Bugs, and adapted it to become Antz. Both animated features were released in 1998, but it was Pixar’s A Bug’s Life than won out eventually, making a huge 363 million dollars at the box office.
Deep Impact & Armageddon (1998)
Both science-fiction disaster films based on the idea that there is a comet on track to destroy earth, Mimi Leder’s Deep Impact and Michael Bay’s Armageddon were both released in 1998. Although scientists have deemed Deep Impact to be more scientifically accurate, it was Armageddon and its ‘Bayhem’ that won over audiences, becoming the highest grossing film of 1998.
Again, some believe that pesky Jeffrey Katzenberg was at it again with this Pixar vs. Dreamworks case, with Katzenberg accused of stealing an idea called Shark from Disney when he left after Pixar became its main animation studio. Both films are computer animated and centre around fish in the ocean, but they don’t really have similar plots at all. It was Pixar who got there first and released Finding Nemo in 2003, grossing 936 million dollars, whereas Shark Tale didn’t get released until 2004, making three times less than its predecessor.
Both films centre around fighting sports and the relationship between two brothers. Both films picked up Academy Award nominations, but it was David O’Russell’s The Fighter that won this round, picking up both awards for Best Supporting Actor (Christian Bale) and Best Supporting Actress (Melissa Leo), the first film to win both those awards since 1986 with Hannah and Her Sisters.
Both of these 2011 romantic comedies centre around a pair of friends who are having a casual sexual relationship, often referred to as a relationship with No Strings Attached or as being Friends with Benefits. Both faired pretty well at the box office and made around the 150 million dollars mark. The similar story lines aren’t the only coincidence here however; No Strings Attached‘s leading man Ashton Kutcher is now married to Friends With Benefits‘s leading lady Mila Kunis!
Both of these action blockbusters were released in 2013 and centred around a terrorist attack on the White House. Though White House Down was more successful at the box office, it was Olympus Has Fallen that spawned a sequel, London Has Fallen, set to be released on 22nd January 2016 with many of the main cast members reprising the same roles they played previously.
This Is the End & The World’s End (2013)
It was a case of USA vs. UK with these 2013 releases, both centred around some form of apocalypse that was threatening to end the world as we know it. However, both were handled it in their own comic ways. In the end, it was Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s This Is the End that triumphed at the box office, boasting extreme star power, with the likes of Seth Rogen’s friends: from James Franco and Jonah Hill to Emma Watson and Rihanna. With this said, The World’s End was a great film from Edgar Wright, topping off his three flavours Cornetto Trilogy after Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.
Have we missed anything off the list?
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