Every now and then two movies with almost the same exact plot will come out at the same time. Is it due to a lack of creativity? Is it because if one star-studded film with a romantic comedy plot is coming out the public will be clamoring to see another very similar movie with a different cast? Maybe it’s a total coincidence. But when twin movie plots strike, there is always a film that comes out on top. Let’s take a closer look at the phenomena:
Armageddon vs. Deep Impact
In 1998, there was one big question on the movie-watching public’s minds: what if a world-ending meteor was heading right for Earth? Armageddon is the winner here, having a bigger box office impact (zing!) and a more memorable lasting pop culture effect. Who can forget Bruce Willis sacrificing himself for the good of mankind and sparing daughter Liv Tyler’s husband Ben Affleck doing the deed himself? Well, probably a lot of people. But the cheesy wonder of Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” would’ve been lost with this film! Armageddon also featured Billy Bob Thornton, Owen Wilson, and Steve Buscemi. Though Deep Impact was no slouch with a cast including Robert Duvall, Vanessa Redgrave, Morgan Freeman, and Elijah Wood just to name a few. However, Deep Impact did win the day critically speaking, so perhaps another smack down viewing is in order…
The Prestige vs. The Illusionist
Two tales of two magicians at the turn of the century both came out in 2006. The Prestige featured Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Hugh Jackman and Scarlett Johansson to The Illusionist’s Edward Norton and, apparently, Jessica Biel. I’d say The Prestige is the winner, despite both being successful and critically well-received films. This might be due to the magic touch Christophe Nolan gave The Prestige and the appearance of David Bowie. You don’t forget a Bowie appearance. But really The Illusionist was just not as memorable to me, being more of a love story as opposed to the thrilling Prestige‘s twisty turny craziness involving actual supernatural magic.
No Strings Attached vs. Friends with Benefits
This was an especially strange coincidence of 2011 since the female leads in both these films acted together in Black Swan and equally weird was that two That 70’s Show cast members starred in opposing films with the same exact plot. Did nobody talk to each other about the fact that Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher decided to make pretty much the same movie as Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake? In any event, both were fairly innocuous romantic comedies that did pretty well at the box office. I can’t declare a firm winner other than to say I preferred the pairing of Natalie and Ashton to Mila and Justin. But take your pick!
Antz vs. A Bug’s Life
It’s an insect smack down pitting Disney/Pixar against Woody Allen and Dreamworks. Many would say A Bug’s Life is the winner due to the undeniable magic of Pixar, but don’t discount Antz quite so fast! The script for Antz has just as much sparkle as A Bug’s Life and gets a little darker and sassier since it wasn’t family-oriented. While these weren’t true movie twins since their plots really weren’t similar at all, how weird is it that two different studios would decide to make movies about bugs? It might just be a conspiracy…
Victor/Victoria vs. Tootsie
I love both these amazing films and didn’t even realize they went head-to-head in 1982. It’s very hard to declare a winner here since Victor/Victoria is headlined by the incomparable Julie Andrews and Tootsie the brilliant Dustin Hoffman. One is about a woman pretending to be a woman pretending to be a man to make it in showbiz while the other is a man pretending to be a woman for the same reason. Perhaps Julie should get the crown for adding that extra gender-switching layer in there and she sang her heart out. But Tootsie also featured Jessica Lange and Terri Garr, not mention Bill Murray! And both films were up for numerous Oscars. It’s just too close to call.
White House Down vs. Olympus Has Fallen
Both films posit what would happen if the President of the United States was taken hostage by terrorists. To be fair, I have yet to see Olympus Has Fallen so I can’t declare my personal preference, though apparently OHF is the winner in terms of box office and even has a sequel in the works. Though White House Down was so absurd it was almost unwatchable. Yet I watched it. And laughed a lot even if that wasn’t their intention. Though, really, who wouldn’t enjoy a pairing of Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx? OHF featured Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart, and Gerard Butler so perhaps it’s worth a watch. Though OHF might not be much better than WHD considering both were pretty much panned by critics.
That’s it for round one! What will round two bring – Snow White and the Huntsman vs. Mirror Mirror? Perhaps Dante’s Peak vs. Volcano? Maybe even a look at Finding Nemo vs. Shark Tale? Stay tuned.