For as long as I can remember there has been a strange phenomenon going on in Hollywood that I’ve never completely understood. I’m sure you too have experienced that twinge of deja vu when a movie hits theatres, and it reminds you of another similar flick that you saw only a few months ago. Now I’m not talking about trends or blatant rip-offs here, I’m talking about something a little more mysterious and puzzling: situations where it was seemingly impossible for one movie to be an attempt at capitalizing on the success of the other, because they both would have been in production at the exact same time.
Call it synergy, call it corporate espionage, or just mere coincidence… hey, I don’t have the answers, but I do have a collection of uncanny examples from years past. These are some of the “coincidental clones” that I could think of, most of them released less than a year apart. Can you think of any others?
1998 was the year Hollywood became obsessed with a catastrophic asteroid collision after scientists found a real asteroid that would pass within 30,000 miles of Earth in 2028.
Also in 1998, Dreamworks and Pixar had their first head to head battle. Pixar won handily, assuming you’re judging by box office numbers.
In 2003/2004, they both decided to move from animated insects to animated fish. Coincidence? I wonder.
Back in 1989, audiences were captivated by two heart-warming tales of hardened police officers and their reluctant canine counterparts. I always liked K9 best, but Tom Hanks was the bigger draw in Turner & Hooch.
The 80’s were awash with “body swap” stories, but these both happened to involve a father and son trading places with hilarious results (and were released mere months apart).
Admittedly, the similarities here are a bit more pre-meditated since both movies shared some of the same writers, but cute robot adventures just seemed to be on everyone’s minds between 86 and 87.
Remarkably similar concepts, except that one is aware he is on TV while the other is not. In some ways these movies were prophetic of the reality TV boom that would follow only a year or two later.
How is it that two different studios came to the conclusion that the world needed a movie about volcanoes… at the exact same time? (They were both wrong.)
Although Alexander Bulkley’s take on the zodiac serial killer story beat David Fincher’s Zodiac to market by almost a year, it failed to steal the spotlight.
Similarly, David Michael Latt’s retelling of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds was severely overshadowed by the Steven Spielberg/Tom Cruise version, even though it was in production first.
Douglas McGrath’s Truman Capote biopic Infamous didn’t even have the advantage of being released first in this case. Pretty tough to convince people you have something new to offer when the other Capote biopic landed its lead actor an Oscar.
Vastly different movies, and yet, how do you explain two major movies about turn of the century magicians being released in the same year?
I suppose it only makes sense that once someone had the balls to greenlight a 9/11 movie, another studio would try and elbow in on the action too.
The shared premise between The Signal and Stephen King’s novel Cell appear to be coincidental, but Eli Roth may want to consider waiting on the feature film adaptation of Cell.