15 Dec Twin Films: 7 Pairs of Films That Are the Exact Same Movie
Have you ever been watching a movie and thought to yourself, “Wait a minute, I’ve seen this before” like a form of cinematic deja vu? Well it turns out this is a common phenomenon as movie studios will often race to release movies with similar premises. They’re referred to as “Twin Films” and they’re usually the result of capitalizing on current trends, filmmakers moving to another studio, or straight up thievery.
A Bug’s Life/Antz
In 1998, Disney and DreamWorks both released animated films about an outcast ant who doesn’t quite fit into normal society. While A Bug’s Life (loosely based on Aesop’s fable The Ant and the Grasshopper) grossed $363.4 million, Woody Allen’s Antz was a commercial failure. It’s widely speculated that the idea for Antz was stolen by DreamWorks founder CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg who left Disney shortly after Pixar become its major animation studio which lead to a public feud between Katzenberg and Pixar’s John Lasseter and Steve Jobs.
Finding Nemo/Shark Tale
A Bug’s Life and Antz aren’t the only movies where Disney and DreamWorks overlapped either. The two studios both released computer animated films that take place in the ocean only sixteen months apart. Katzenberg defended Shark Tale saying, “any similarities are mere coincidence. We’ve been open with the Pixar people so we don’t step on each other’s toes.” The sequel to Finding Nemo (titled Finding Dory) is set to release in 2016, while nobody is holding their breath for a Shark Tale sequel.
First Daughter/Chasing Liberty
First Daughter stars Katie Holmes as the President’s Daughter who escapes from her Secret Service handlers so she can experience life as a normal teenager and eventually falls in love, while Chasing Liberty stars Mandy Moore as the President’s Daughter who escapes from her Secret Service handlers so she can experience life as a normal teenager and eventually falls in love. In fact, Chasing Liberty’s working title was “First Daughter” and both movies were originally scheduled to release on the same day. Both movies failed to make a profit, presumably because the market for movies about the President’s Daughter who escapes from her Secret Service handlers so she can experience life as a normal teenager and eventually falls in love is surprisingly small.
The Prestige/The Illusionist
It’s unfortunate that these movies were released around the same time, because The Illusionist (a good movie in its own right) often gets overshadowed by The Prestige (Christopher Nolan’s best movie not called Memento). The Prestige (which starred Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, and Scarlett Johannson) and The Illusionist (which starred Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti) were actually just two of the three movies released in 2006 about magicians. The third movie, Scoop, also starred Jackman and Johannson because apparently those two just love the shit out of magic.
Friends With Benefits/No Strings Attached
Released in 2011, Friends With Benefits and No Strings Attached are both rom-coms about best friends who start up a casual relationship and eventually fall in love. What we find most interesting about this situation is the fact that Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher starred in competing films about best friends who fall in love and then that exact situation played out in real life.
Madagascar and The Wild are both computer animated films centered around zoo animals who leave New York’s Central Park Zoo and are introduced into the wild. While DreamWork’s Madagascar has spawned four sequels and spin-offs, Disney’s The Wild barely made a profit. USA Today called The Wild “the most wildly derivative animated movie in ages”, but some critics have defended the Disney version calling it the superior film. Mike Sage wrote “don’t be mistaking this for a Madagascar rip-off, when it was that sloppy DreamWorks turd that only managed to make it to theaters first because of corporate espionage.”
White House Down/Olympus Has Fallen
In 2013, Hollywood released two movies about a terrorist attack on the White House, White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen. Despite mixed reviews for both movies, Olympus Has Fallen is generally considered the better film and a sequel to Olympus Has Fallen, titled London Has Fallen, is set to release in 2016.