Rachel M. Johnson is a lover of all things pop culture. She's been writing about music and entertainment online for years.
Sometimes in Hollywood, film ideas and concepts are recycled and reused. Many times there are "twin movies", which can share suspiciously similar plots. Often these films are released around the same time, even the same year. Let's take a look at 13 super similar movies released in the same year.
"Armageddon" & "Deep Impact" (1998)
Armageddon was released on July 1, 1998 and featured an ensemble cast including Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler. The film follows a group of blue-collar deep-core drillers sent in by NASA to stop a monstrous asteroid from colliding with Earth. Deep Impact was released on May 8, 1998 and starred Robert Duvall, Téa Leoni and Morgan Freeman. It depicts the attempts to prepare for a massive 7-mile wide comet that is set to collide with the Earth and cause mass extinction worldwide.
Budget: Armageddon: $140 million vs. Deep Impact: $80 million
Box Office: Armageddon: $553.7 million vs. Deep Impact: $349.5 million
Rotten Tomatoes: Armageddon: 38% vs. Deep Impact: 45%
"The Prestige" & "The Illusionist" (2006)
The Prestige was released on October 20, 2006 and featured an A-list cast including Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Scarlett Johansson and Michael Caine. It follows the story of rival stage magicians Robert Angier and Alfred Borden, in 19th century London as they attempt to one-up each other's magic shows. The Illusionist was released on August 18, 2006 and starred Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti and Jessica Biel. The film tells the tale of Eisenheim, a magician in turn-of-the-century Vienna who reunites with his childhood love.
Budget: The Prestige: $40 million vs. The Illusionist: $16.5 million
Box Office: The Prestige: $109.7 million vs. The Illusionist: $87.8 million
Rotten Tomatoes: The Prestige: 76% vs. The Illusionist: 73%
"Chasing Liberty" & "First Daughter" (2004)
Chasing Liberty is a romantic comedy released on January 9, 2004 and starred Mandy Moore, Matthew Goode and Jeremy Piven. The story is about the 18-year-old daughter of the President of the United States, who rebels against her life and the Secret Service by going on a European adventure. First Daughter was released on September 24, 2004 and featured Katie Holmes, Marc Blucas and Michael Keaton. The film follows the daughter of the President of the United States, as she enrolls in college and finally is given a sense of freedom away from the White House.
Budget: Chasing Liberty: $23 million vs. First Daughter: $30 million
Box Office: Chasing Liberty: $12 million vs. First Daughter: $10.4 million
Rotten Tomatoes: Chasing Liberty: 19% vs. First Daughter: 8%
"Dante's Peak" & "Volcano" (1997)
Dante's Peak is a disaster thriller released on February 7, 1997 and starred Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton. It is set in the fictional town of Dante's Peak where the residents fight to survive a volcanic eruption. Volcano was released on April 25, 1997 and starred Tommy Lee Jones, Anne Heche and Gabby Hoffman. It tells the story of the head of the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management, as he attempts to divert the path of lava flow following the creation of a volcano at the La Brea Tar Pits.
Budget: Dante's Peak: $116 million vs. Volcano: $90 million
Box Office: Dante's Peak: $178.1 million vs. Volcano: $122.8 million
Rotten Tomatoes: Dante's Peak: 48% vs. Volcano: 50%
"A Bug's Life" & "Antz" (1998)
A Bug's Life is an animated film released on November 25, 1998 and featured the voices of Dave Foley, Kevin Spacey and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. It focuses on misfit ant Flik, as he searches for warriors to take on the tough grasshoppers, in the process recruiting a circus troupe of bugs. Antz was released on October 2, 1998 and had an A-list voice cast including Woody Allen, Dan Aykroyd, Danny Glover and Gene Hackman. It tells the tale of a neurotic ant as he attempts to break free from his totalitarian society and win over the princess he loves. There was much controversy around the films as there was a public feud between Dreamworks and Pixar, concerning their parallel productions and plot lines.
Budget: A Bug's Life: $120 million vs. Antz: $42-$105 million
Box Office: A Bug's Life: $363.3 million vs. Antz: $171.8 million
Rotten Tomatoes: A Bug's Life: 92% vs. Antz: 93%
"Turner & Hooch" & "K-9" (1989)
Turner & Hooch is a buddy cop comedy that starred Tom Hanks, Mare Winningham and Craig T. Nelson and was released on July 28, 1989. It follows a detective as he adopts the dog of a dead man in order to find his murderer. K-9 was released 3 months earlier on April 28, 1989 and starred James Belushi, Mel Harris and Ed O'Neil. The film focused on a bad-tempered San Diego police detective who is given a police dog partner in order to take down an international drug dealer that has targeted him.
Budget: Turner & Hooch: $13 million vs. K-9: $17 million
Box Office: Turner & Hooch: $71.1 million vs. K-9: $78.2 million
Rotten Tomatoes: Turner & Hooch: 52% vs. K-9: 22%
"Olympus Has Fallen" & "White House Down" (2013)
Olympus Has Fallen is an action thriller released on March 22, 2013 and starred Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart and Morgan Freeman. It follows a disgraced United States Secret Service agent as he tries to rescue the U.S. President from a North Korean-led guerrilla assault on the White House. White House Down was released on June 28, 2013 and featured Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx and Maggie Gyllenhaal. The film focuses on a U.S. Capitol police officer as he tries to rescue his daughter and the president from a terrorist assault on the White House.
Budget: Olympus Has Fallen: $70 million vs. White House Down: $150 million
Box Office: Olympus Has Fallen: $170.3 million vs. White House Down: $205.4 million
Rotten Tomatoes: Olympus Has Fallen: 49% vs. White House Down: 50%
"Friends With Benefits" & "No Strings Attached" (2011)
Friends With Benefits is a romantic comedy released on July 22, 2011 and starred Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis. The plot revolves around Dylan and Jamie, who meet in New York and decide to add sex into their friendship, becoming friends with benefits. Of course, feelings and true romance ensues. No Strings Attached was released on January 11, 2011 and featured Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. It too focuses on friends who make a pact to have a casual sex relationship, only to fall in love with each other.
Budget: Friends With Benefits: $35 million vs. No Strings Attached: $25 million
Box Office: Friends With Benefits: $150.4 million vs. No Strings Attached: $149.2 million
Rotten Tomatoes: Friends With Benefits: 68% vs. No Strings Attached: 49%
"The Cave" & "The Descent" (2005)
The Cave is an action horror film starring Cole Hauser, Morris Chestnut and Eddie Cibrian, and was released in theaters on August 26, 2005. It follows a group of explorers in a cave who are being chased by frightening creatures that were once human. The Descent is a British adventure horror film that was released in the United Kingdom on July 8, 2005 and the U.S on August 4, 2006. It stars Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza and Alex Reid, and focuses on 6 women who, after entering a cave system, are hunted by humanoid creatures inside.
Budget: The Cave: $30 million vs. The Descent: £3.5 million
Box Office: The Cave: $33,296,457 vs. The Descent: $57.1 million
Rotten Tomatoes: The Cave: 11% vs. The Descent: 85%
"After Earth" & "Oblivion" (2013)
After Earth is a post-apocalyptic science film released on May 31, 2013 and stars Will Smith, Jaden Smith, Billy Campbell and Zoë Kravitz. It takes place in the 31st century, and tells the tale of a high-ranking general and his son as they fight to survive on Earth, after it was abandoned by humans and involved in a battle with an alien race. Oblivion features Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman and Olga Kurylenko and was released on March 26, 2013. It takes place in 2077 on an Earth that was devastated by war with extraterrestrials, causing its inhabitants to relocate itself to Titan.
Budget: After Earth: $130 million vs. Oblivion: $120 million
Box Office: After Earth: $243.8 million vs. Oblivion: $286.2 million
Rotten Tomatoes: After Earth: 11% vs. Oblivion: 53%
"Top Gun" & "Iron Eagle" (1986)
Top Gun is a classic American drama featuring Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer and Anthony Edwards and was released on May 16, 1986. The film follows a young naval aviator and his Radar Intercept Officer, who are given the chance to train at the US Navy's Fighter Weapons School. Iron Eagle was released on January 17, 1986 and starred Louis Gossett Jr., Jason Gedrick and David Suchet. The fictional story relates to the real life attacks by the US over the Gulf of Sidra and focuses on a hotshot civilian pilot.
Budget: Top Gun: $15 million vs. Iron Eagle: $18 million
Box Office: Top Gun: $356.8 million vs. Iron Eagle: $24,159,872 million
Rotten Tomatoes: Top Gun: 55% vs. Iron Eagle: 20%
"Red Planet" & "Mission to Mars" (2000)
Red Planet is a science fiction thriller starring Val Kilmer, Carrie-Anne Moss, Tom Sizemore and Benjamin Bratt, and was released on November 10, 2000. It tells the tale of a dying Earth in the near future, and a group of astronauts that make the first manned expedition to Mars, in order to find a new colony. Mission to Mars features Gary Sinise, Don Cheadle, Connie Nielsen and Jerry O'Connell and was released on March 10, 2000. Taking place in 2020, it tells the tale of the first manned Mars exploration mission going awry and how one American astronaut must coordinate a rescue mission for a colleague.
Budget: Red Planet: $80 million vs. Mission to Mars: $100 million
Box Office: Red Planet: $33.5 million vs. Mission to Mars: $111 million
Rotten Tomatoes: Red Planet: 34% vs. Mission to Mars: 25%
"Observe and Report" & "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" (2009)
Observe and Report is a black American comedy starring Seth Rogen, Anna Faris and Ray Liotta, and was released in theaters on April 10, 2009. It centers on a mentally unstable vigilante mall cop who wishes to join the police academy, as he pursues a flasher targeting women at the mall. Paul Blart: Mall Cop is a comedy film released on January 16, 2009 and stars Kevin James, Jayma Mays and Bobby Cannavale. James starred as the titular character who must rescue a group of civilians taken hostage by thugs on Black Friday.
Budget: Observe and Report: $18 million vs. Paul Blart: Mall Cop: $26 million
Box Office: Observe and Report: $27 million vs. Paul Blart: Mall Cop: $183.3 million
Rotten Tomatoes: Observe and Report: 51% vs. Paul Blart: Mall Cop: 32%
© 2019 Rachel M Johnson