Dueling Movies

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This page is a list of similar films that were released at around the same time.

Occasionally, studios will be forced to war with one another when they simultaneously produce similar movies which are subsequently released within a short time from each other.

One very rare aversion, Warner Brothers bought the rights to The Tower and eight weeks later, 20th Century Fox bought the rights to The Glass Inferno so to avoid having similar films at the box office at the same time, they joined forces and combined the novels into The Towering Inferno!

See also Dueling Products, Dueling Games, and Dueling Shows for proof that this type of competition isn't limited to just films. See also The Mockbuster.

Not to be confused with Dueling Stars Movie.


Initiators Followers Description Misc Winner?
The Adventures of Tintin The Pirates Band of Misfits, Ice Age: Continental Drift Animated movies where piratery and sea navigation are important plot points. Ice Age: Continental Drift, which profited from being part of a popular franchise. The others are practically forgotten.
Naked Lunch Kafka Two 1991 movies that are centered around the works of two renowned but vastly different authors, William S. Burroughs and Franz Kafka respectively. Although the title of Naked Lunch implies otherwise (it probably being Burroughs' most (in)famous novel), neither movie is an adaptation of any single piece of their work, but focus on the themes present in them to create a single allegorical tale of their entire careers, with fictionalized versions of the authors themselves as the protagonist. Naked Lunch was directed by the Canadian Body Horror director David Cronenberg, Kafka by the then-up-and-coming Steven Soderbergh, best known for Ocean's Eleven and Traffic. Both movies starred Ian Holm for some reason. Kafka beat Naked Lunch to the punch by being released a little over a month earlier, but Naked Lunch is much more widely remembered nowadays.
Orange County Stealing Harvard 2002 films about two guys finagling their way into the good graces of a prestigious university. Neither did well at the box office, but Orange County is considered better and has a better following today. The public was introduced Colin Hanks (OC), but was already sick of Tom Green (Harvard).
The Green Hornet Green Lantern

Green Arrow (on hold)
Green-themed superheroes.

It isn't easy being green for would-be third contender, Green Arrow: Escape From Super Max.
One is based on a long-running second-tier (perhaps) DC icon, one is based on a cult TV show. Both had to correct for silly weaknesses (yellow and reliance on Bruce Lee, respectively). Cracked.com made a chart pointing out how similar the two movies were. In the end, Lantern got thrashed by critics and is proving to be a total disaster at the box office for Warner Bros., who were marketing it as their big movie for the summer of 2011. By contrast, Hornet got mixed reviews but made back its budget nearly twice over, so it looks to be the winner.
Antz A Bugs Life The first example of Pixar and Dreamworks really dueling. Featuring ants as their main protagonists, the ant worker hero, who wants to stand out among the millions of other ants, falls for the ant princess, who seems an almost unattainable love interest. The ant hero goes on a long journey to a bug city, which is actually a pile of human garbage. And then he returns and gets the girl. Apart from the ants being protagonists, almost nothing else about the films was the same. A Bugs Life had a very cartoonish design, while Antz had a more realistic design of the insects. Antz had dark humor, dialogue and themes all around, while A Bugs Life was aimed at children. Just the same, thanks to the ants, they were both considered to be ripping each other off. (Fact is, Jeffery Katzenberg, though responsible for getting Toy Story greenlit, had just been booted from Disney, was furious at them, and knew about the next Pixar project; the competition was intentional.) Both films were a success with both audiences and critics, as well as financially, but A Bugs Life won by bringing in $200,000,000 more than Antz thanks to appealing more to kids and better promotion.
Pitch Black Supernova Space movies featuring a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits -type crew that must survive a hostile environment and an Ax Crazy serial killer. Most of the crew are killed. PB was made in Australia and on a budget that the Aussies considered huge, but in America was only middlin'. It featured Vin Diesel and Claudia Black(who was shooting her first scenes in a little-known space show with Muppets at the same time). Supernova, meanwhile, had a HUGE budget and bigger stars like James Spader. Pitch Black did more with it's little than Supernova did with its lot with a tight storyline and more interesting characters that did not lean on Eye Candy. It eventually spawned a pretty fat franchise with a sequel, an animated tie-in, a video game, etc. Supernova was usually graded as "it supersucks!"
Titan A.E. Treasure Planet Final Bluth and Disney face-off. Fatherless boy tries to solve his daddy issues by going on a space voyage in search of a long-lost treasure, hidden on a Big Dumb Object, with a less-than-stellar crew of galactic Petting Zoo People, one of whom is a Parental Substitute, but proves to be The Mole, using a starmap only he can read. The villain redeems himself in a Take My Hand moment while trying to activate/deactivate the Forgotten Doomsday Device. More specific, you say? OK... Both films were heavily and deliberately marketed to single-parent Gen-X kids. Used Future, Schizo-Tech and uplifting Grunge music pops up on occasion. Oh, and one is about Pirates in a Steampunk Alternate Universe, based on a classic novel. The other is about Space Pirates After the End, based on Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica. Both got an Earthshattering Kaboom. Neither. The two films destroyed each other, with Treasure Planet being unfairly compared to the (poorly-marketed) Titan, nearly killing the entire genre of traditional animation in one of the worst case of Dueling Films ever. Fortunately, both were later Vindicated by Cable.
127 Hours Soul Surfer Dramatic films about Real Life athletes who lose a limb. Hours, from Danny Boyle, focuses on Aron Ralston, a hiker who is forced to cut off his own arm to save himself after five days of having his arm trapped by a boulder. Surfer, from Sean McNamara (the director of Bratz), focuses on Bethany Hamilton, an evangelical Christian surfer who loses an arm from a shark attack. The main difference between these two films is their intended audience: while Hours aims for a secular audience, Surfer is intended for the Christian market. 127 Hours was nominated for six Oscars (including Best Picture and Best Actor for James Franco), and several other awards, but only obtained a modest profit thanks to Fox's mismanagement of the movie. Soul Surfer, on the other hand, received mixed reception from critics. Additionally, while Surfer earned much more than Hours in the United States, it was invisible outside the States, resulting in a lower international box office than 127 Hours. Hours is the victor in this one.
Melancholia The Tree of Life Both are "big-budget art-house films" that feature dysfunctional family drama alongside epic cosmic events, with the visuals alternating between realistic shots in hand-held camera and gorgeous, elaborate takes of scaleless scenery and events. Tie. Melancholia got better reviews and public praise, but while The Tree of Life polarized audiences and critics much more, it was more successful theatrically and got more rewards.
Madagascar The Wild Both involve zoo animals escaping and going to Africa, one of whom is a lion character who doesn't really want to leave. It's worth noting that The Wild started production several years before Madagascar, so this might be an example of the above feud, carried on by Pixar's parent company. As far as box office receipts, Madagascar was a huge hit, and The Wild not so much.
Ratatouille The Tale of Despereaux An incident involving a rat, some soup, and interactions with humans have wild repercussions. Ratatouille is all about a rodent in the kitchen while Desperaux's soup-loving rat isn't the protagonist. Despereaux was based on a best-selling children's book and had the flashier cast but Ratatouille won the day and the Best Animated Feature Oscar.
Finding Nemo Shark Tale Yet another Pixar/Dreamworks duel, this time with films about underwater creatures. That's about the only similarity. Both got good reviews, but while Shark Tale did decently at the box office, Finding Nemo was a box office smash.
Jurassic Park Carnosaur The latter is basically a low-budget clone of the former, with less philosophy and capitalism and more gore and mad scientists, by Roger Corman, the master of movies several grades lower than B. This example is mostly notable for the fact that the imitator actually got into theaters first, due to a massively quick shooting schedule. Also, Harry Adam Knight, author of the deliberately trashy novel Carnosaur was based on, has gleefully pointed out that one scene in Jurassic Park occurs in his book, but not Michael Crichton's. Jurassic Park held the record for highest grossing film in history for several years, until Titanic broke it.
Saving Private Ryan The Thin Red Line Both films were released in 1998 to rave reviews. Both featured an all-star cast of actors clambering over each other to appear in bit parts; both featured a 30-minute extended bloody assault on a bunker in the first half of the film followed by a long tramp across the countryside punctuated by violence.

One is in Europe, one is in the Pacific. Both had HBO Spiritual Successor miniseries.
SPR came out several months ahead and had the natural crowd appeal of Spielberg, while reclusive director Terence Malick spent extra time on TTRL. Veterans groups complained TTRL was insufficiently sympathetic to the Allied cause, while critics complained that the second half of SPR was too mawkish. Saving Private Ryan by far among the general public, while The Thin Red Line is still in heated contention with SPR among critics and film buffs.

Of related series, The Pacific is more often compared to Band of Brothers than TTRL.
Christopher Columbus: The Discovery 1492: Conquest of Paradise 1992 was the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus landing in the Americas, and Alexander and Ilya Salkind (producers of the Superman films) originally wanted Ridley Scott to direct a film about Columbus. Scott turned them down, but later began work on what became 1492. Inevitably, the Salkinds sued Scott, but lost because the first proposal for 1492 predated the Salkinds' project Neither did particularly well; The Discovery grossed a bit more, but 1492 had a better cast and received better reviews.
Deep Impact Armageddon Meteor-strike disaster movies. Neither films were imitations of each other per se, but they revolved around different reactions to the same idea, one more dramatic, the other more action-based. Armageddon made more money, but scientists lauded the technical accuracy of Deep Impact. Amusingly, in an early screening of Deep Impact, Morgan Freeman is giving a speech in which he reassures his audience that life will go on after the meteor-hit, declaring, "There will be no armageddon." Too many viewers at the screening got the in-joke, however, and the uproarious laughter at what was meant as a dramatic scene induced the director to cut the line from the final print. Although Deep Impact is regarded as the better film, Armageddon wins with better box office and the fact that more people are aware of it 10 years after the fact, though that's not to say they fondly remember it.
Dante's Peak Volcano Movies about volcanoes! The former is set in a small town, and is very loosely based on the Mt. St. Helens explosion. The latter is set in Los Angeles and is therefore much crazier in scale. As above, not exactly imitations, but these were both released around the same time and dueled each other with very similar plots. The former, incidentally, is considered notable for being one of the few popcorn disaster movies that actually tries for scientific accuracy. Surprisingly, Dante's Peak won, with $6 million more in box office receipts. Volcano gets the consolation prize of being shown on cable much more often. Heck, it's probably on right now somewhere!
Twister Tornado!, Night of the Twisters Yes, three films all dealing with tornadoes - Twister being a major Hollywood production, while the other two were made for TV movies. Twister was directed by Jan De Bont of Speed fame and co-written by Michale Crichton while Tornado! was written by John Logan. Night of the Twisters was based on a novel which was Based on a True Story. Pretty much as expected: Hollywood won with Twister grossing over $200 million. The other two pretty much faded into footnotes; however, Night of the Twisters was able to outlast Tornado! thanks to more repeats on television. Twister still gets more showings on TV while the others do not.
Dark City, The Matrix The Thirteenth Floor, eXistenZ Each film centered around reality not being really real and just a simulation in the future, albeit for different reasons and created by different sources. Of course, the Matrix was a huge blockbuster, while Thirteenth Floor was viewed to be a copy. It's really not, as the two movies have almost nothing in common. The same applies to eXistenZ, but with a generous helping of Body Horror. The Matrix by a country mile. It re-used the exact same sets and camera angles as the previous Dark City, causing much consternation by fans of the latter film such as Roger Ebert.
No Country for Old Men There Will Be Blood Auteur film about the dark heart of America a highly memorable Villain Protagonist isolated from humanity as he slowly eliminates his enemies in what looks like the desert of West Texas (where both movies were filmed). Bonus Points if you have to remember which film had the correct & apropos title.
Hint: One is about a middle-aged sociopath, one is about a serial murderer.
Tied. No Country won more awards at the Oscars of that year, including nabbing Best Picture, while TWBB is on many best-of lists. Lampshaded here
Knock Off Rush Hour Rush Hour was a comedy-action movie teaming martial arts star Jackie Chan with comedian Chris Tucker. Knock Off had a similar set up by teaming Jean-Claude Van Damme with Rob Schneider. While many people have accused Knock Off of being a Knock Off made to capitalize on Rush Hour, they seem to be ignoring the fact that it was released a month before the better movie. Rush Hour by a mile, which has also gone on to spawn 2 sequels.
The Dark Crystal Krull Fantasy films from the 80s, each was set in an exotic world ruled by an evil force. A fortress must be penetrated. The Dark Crystal was done by Jim Henson which meant, of course, animatronic puppets while Krull was live action. Each have their fans, so let's just say it's a draw and leave it at that.
Destination Moon (1950);

Destination Moon (1950), unrelated
Rocketship X-M Moon was scientifically accurate, featured a script by Robert A. Heinlein, and pretty much kicked off the "space adventure" genre of film; X-M featured sound in space, rockets stopping when the engines cut out, and eventually ended up on Mystery Science Theater 3000. Another case of the ripoff making it into theaters first; Destination Moon was famously advertised as "Two years in the making!", and X-M took advantage of it. Destination Moon (film).

The 2-part Tintin series was more scientifically accurate and prescient than either of them, and eerily similar in plot, but didn't cross the pond.
Independence Day The Arrival (also, Mars Attacks!!) Alien Invasion movies released in the summer of 1996 (or late autumn, in the case of Mars Attacks!!). Aside from involving an alien invasion, they are nothing alike. Independence Day was the big-studio production with a big budget, big stars, big promotion and churned out an even bigger profit. The Arrival was intended to be more of a thoughtful thriller, with only one brand-name star (Charlie Sheen). It never had a chance. ID4: Can anyone actually remember The Arrival? (Yes! The guy looked like Gordon Freeman!)
The Illusionist The Prestige Period movies where very handsome actors play magicians who seem to perform the impossible, both having their wide release in fall 2006. The Prestige was an edgy thriller, The Illusionist a love story with a softer fairy-tale feel. Both. They were equally successful, but for different reasons. Prestige seems to have more fans currently.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Terminator Salvation Both movies are sequels to established sci-fi robot franchises; however, Terminator Salvation departs from the Terminator series' usual formula by mostly concerning itself with giant and/or vehicle-like "non-cyborg" sentient robots, making it closely resemble the Transformers movies. With Transformers the core fanbase was already steeled to expect a Bay film. On the other hand, Salvation did help establish Sam Worthington as an Epic Movie actor just as he was about to quit to take a long vacation in the desert, so make of what you will of that. Both movies were savaged by critics, but Revenge of the Fallen made more money and seems to have more fans. (Not to mention that for the moment, Salvation seems to be the Franchise Killer; not only is the franchise dead for the moment, but their company went under as well following the movie.)
Dr. Strangelove Fail-Safe Both films feature the President of the United States collaborating with the Soviet Union to avert imminent nuclear Armageddon. Interestingly the books were at war too, with Red Alert, the precursor to Strangelove, winning out. When Kubrick heard that Fail Safe was being made into a movie, he tied the production up in legal issues to get Strangelove out first. Black Comedy versus Nightmare Fuel. Though both are generally received as classics, Fail-Safe didn't feature Slim Pickens riding a nuclear bomb to annihilation, and that crucial oversight cost it in the long run. Dr. Strangelove wins due to several Academy Award nominations and being regarded as the best satire in cinema history. The two movies share so many plot points that Fail-Safe tends to be Hilarious in Hindsight.
Godzilla Gamera Giant Monsters smash cities and battle other giant monsters. The Godzilla series started in the lead in the "Showa" era with more and better films, but the "Heisei" series for both were a marked change. Despite having only a trilogy, Gamera had the better and more successful films overall when it went into a more realistic, Darker and Edgier direction. It dropped it with its own attempt at a third series, leading to a repeat of the Showa status-quo for the Millenium. Godzilla has had much more staying power and is still having movies churned out.
Troy; Kingdom of Heaven;
King Arthur
(all 2004)
300
Robin Hood (2010 film);
Centurion
(respectively)
Demythtified Sword and Sandal (would be) Epic inspired by success of Gladiator using cinematography from LOTR and stuttercam from SPR to capture massive battle scenes, seasoned lightly with a single tasteful love scene. The hero employs the ancient sword technique of Ramping. Troy and 300 seem doomed to comparison, despite having little in common besides being about Greeks. The Siege in the 2004 flicks fell victim to Seinfeld Fatigue in the wake of a certain '03 film and those Capital One ads. Kingdom was heavily cut up for the theatrical release. 300 wins due to popularity. Troy places thanks to that one fight scene everyone wants to see. Kingdom draws, due to the Directors Cut. King Arthur loses. Robin Hood (2010 film) is Gladiator WITH ROBIN HOOD! Centurion gets a leg up for being deliberately cheesy.
Tombstone Wyatt Earp Historical westerns about . . . Wyatt Earp. Tombstone starred Kurt Russell, while Wyatt Earp starred Kevin Costner. Costner was originally involved with Tombstone but left over disagreements regarding the script, deciding to make his own Earp pic. He even put pressure on studios to refuse distribution of Tombstone, but guess which one made more money in the end... Tombstone proved to be a hit and earned the better reviews, while Wyatt Earp flopped at the box office and got nominated for five Razzies.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) [[Dungeons & Dragons (film) Dungeons & Dragons]] High Fantasy in a magical land of elves, goblins and other fantastical creatures based off legendary and sacred nerd franchises. (Both distributed by New Line Cinema.) LOTR by a landslide.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001) First installments of high-budget film adaptations of popular and beloved fantasy series, with an overlapping viewer demographic, released within a month's difference of each other. A tie, or, better said, both films win. Both LOTR and HP were incredible box-office hits, grossing about $900 mln each, successfully launching their respective film franchises, revolutionizing the use of CGI in movies and greatly raising the prestige of the fantasy genre.
The Descent The Cave
The Cavern
Horror movies with similar titles, made in the same year, and all three about a group of cavers who go spelunking, meet something unpleasant, and die. When it was released in America one year afterward, The Descent ended up becoming known as "Like The Cave, but it doesn't suck." The Cavern is much more obscure than the other two, but definately the worst of the lot.
Despicable Me Megamind Animated movies released in the same year about a Villain Protagonist. Despicable Me has also been called Penguin: The Movie due to the main character's visual similarities. Megamind has been referred to as Gallaxhar: The Movie. Again, for similar looks. Despicable Me, period. It has gotten both better reviews and almost twice the revenue compared to Megamind (but Megamind is well on its way to becoming a Cult Classic).
The Abyss Deep Star Six and Leviathan For some reason, one of those unsolved mysteries of the universe, 1989 saw three submarine sci-fi thrillers.

They all feature people trapped in confined spaces, ridiculous aquatic gear, monsters, and tons of water.
It's not clear that one is the original and the others imitators, but The Abyss is generally regarded as the best, and the other two ended up soggy (though they're both pretty entertaining in their own right). The Abyss.
Alien: Resurrection Deep Rising A rag-tag bunch of pirates/mercenaries, joined by the protagonist(s) and a number of original crew members (including the human villain, who decide later on that now would be the perfect time to back-stab the survivors) try to escape from the bowels of a ship that’s hopelessly infested with a group of extremely lethal predators after the former crew has departed/vanished. Both prominently feature an extended underwater action set-piece at some point. Deep Rising came out in January 1998, Resurrection in November 1997. The latter had been in gestation far longer than that (pretty much since the release of the third film in 1992), but early script versions differ significantly from the movie that ultimately ended up in theatres. Alien: Resurrection was helmed by French director Jean Pierre Jeunet, Deep Rising by Stephen Sommers. Resurrection was the bigger film by far, with more big-name-stars, a larger budget, and an extensive marketing campaign. It failed to become the financial blockbuster-success that Twentieth Century Fox had hoped for however, and is considered a major drop-down in quality from previous instalments of the series. Deep Rising, while less successful financially by comparison, has gained a bit of a cult following primarily due to the sheer enjoyability of the movie and its habit of never taking itself seriously.
Sex and the City The Women New York-set, Costume Porn- filled (or at least should've been, in the case of The Women, part of the reason it's allegedly unfilmable) Chick Flick about four close older female friends (a romantic, a cynic, a prude, and an Anything That Moves girl) band together when relationship troubles loom. The Women is based on a play (which had already had a fondly remembered film adaptation made in 1939); said play is about how ridiculously cruel women are to each other. Another feature of the play/film is that no men are ever seen or even heard in a kind of faux-Gendercide. Both opened to middling reviews, but SATC got the most box office.
Sky High Zoom's Academy for Superheroes Kid superheroes learn to use their powers Very different, if you give Zoom a chance. There's very little substance hung on Zoom's plot scaffold. Notably, Zoom is one former superhero employed by the military training youngsters, instead of the full-fledged institution implied by the title. Sky High made back over double its budget and earned favorable reviews, while Zoom flopped and earned Tim Allen a Razzie nom.
Inkheart Bedtime Stories Some kid brings stories to life. Only superficially similar. Inkheart is a modern-fantasy adventure tale centered around a young teen while Bedtime Stories is a more lighthearted Adam Sandler vehicle involving much younger children. The "stories come to life" is played for tension and action in the former while it is played for laughs and poignancy in the latter. Neither film was well-liked by critics, but Bedtime Stories pulled in over $100 million in the US alone (and $200 million worldwide), while Inkheart was a flop, earning only $17 million domestically (its worldwide gross of $70 million was barely enough to recoup its budget).
Paul Blart: Mall Cop Observe and Report Early-2009 comedies about overweight mall security guards attempting to foil criminals. The former stars Kevin James, and is mostly a silly action-movie parody. The latter stars Seth Rogen, and is a mismarketed Darker and Edgier comedy about socially dysfunctional people. Mall Cop was a runaway box office smash, but critics weren't too fond of it. Observe did modestly at the box office and got mixed reviews, but is perceived as the better film.
U2 3D Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert 3-D concert films from early 2008. The U2 concert was shown at IMAX, while the Hannah Montana concert was shown in digital 3-D only. And one year later came the cheaper Jonas Brothers 3-D concert, which was also shown at IMAX. Hannah Montana had a much bigger box office, but U2 3D was better received by critics.
Capote Infamous Truman Capote during the years he was writing In Cold Blood. Capote came out first, with Philip Seymour Hoffman winning an Oscar for his performance, along dozens of other awards and nominations for the film. Infamous opened a year later, and was largely ignored save for a satirical Onion article about a slew of new films about Capote coming out. Capote
Big Vice Versa, Like Father Like Son A teenager is trapped in the body of an adult. The exact circumstances vary. Big got the Oscar nods and made Tom Hanks a star. It should be noted, however, that the Italian comedy Da grande, about a 9 year old boy turning into an adult, predated Big by one year. Big, by a long shot.
Nutty Professor II: The Klumps Big Momma's House Once edgy black comedians in fat drag. Nutty Professor II has Eddie Murphy playing multiple characters, while Big Momma's House had Martin Lawrence play a character who dressed up as the titular "Big Momma". The Klumps made more money.
Mission to Mars Red Planet and Ghosts of Mars Movies about going to Mars! M2M was 2001-lite, but the other two were b-movie fare. All three got middling-to-low reviews. Weirdly, Ghosts of Mars could be considered the overall victor, since it just about broke even with the DVD release, whereas the other two were major money losers for their studios.
Gordy Babe Live action movies that involve talking pigs, both released in 1995. Gordy was released first and was not very successful critically or commercially. Babe ended up being a smash hit, getting a sequel (though the sequel bombed pretty badly). Babe is considered one of the greatest family films ever made (and certainly the best-ever with talking animals). It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects.
Gamer Surrogates Computer game concepts brought into Real Life with interesting consequences. Gamer is first because its trailer was first. Both movies have a similar set up but different plots: Gamer deals with prisoners being forced to lend their bodies to teenaged gamers for deadly shooting matches, while Surrogates is when an entire population of humans who have become effectively immortal thanks to idealized android bodies, is suddenly threatened by a murderer. Neither, as both opened to low reviews and an indifferent audience.
Ocean's Eleven The Italian Job Remakes of movies about a crew of thieves pulling off a complicated heist against dangerous enemies. While both had good reviews, Ocean's Eleven was much more successful and spawned two sequels. The Italian Job's sequel is still in development hell.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button The Time Traveler's Wife Fantasy/romance adapted from a written source in which an otherwise perfect couple is tested by the man's "chronological disorder". Button is based on a short story where a man "merely" ages backwards while Wife's protagonist bounces around time in a Trauma Conga Line. Interestingly, both films were produced by Brad Pitt, who also starred in Button. While Wife was a modest hit, Button made tons of money and Oscars for its Uncanny Valley-defying special effects work. Neither film seems to have many fans today, however, and many Wife novel fans can't stand the movie.
Delgo Avatar CGI Sci-fi passion-projects about two ethnic groups of separate species fighting each other and how two of the separate species attempt to stop the fighting and fall in love in the process. While both have been in production for years, Delgo did come out first. A lawsuit was even prompted by the makers of Delgo against Avatar. Avatar is currently the top-grossing film of all time. Delgo, meanwhile, is currently the biggest box-office flop in the history of animation. An incredibly mishandled marketing campaign and releasing the film in a handful of theaters in an overcrowded market didn't help. Many guess that the lawsuit is an attempt to somehow recoup Delgo's budget after its epic failure at the box office or the studio taking jokes made about the two films seriously.
Catch-22 Mash Deconstructive black comedy war movies released in 1970, with not much combat but a surprising amount of blood, starring ensemble casts of screwballs, and most certainly not using earlier wars as stand-ins for Vietnam. If suicide is painless, perhaps that is the answer to the Catch-22. Catch-22, despite an all-star cast, got tepid reviews and flopped. M*A*S*H was a huge success, made Robert Altman famous, inspired an even more successful TV series, and helped usher in the 70's auteur era in general.
Million Dollar Baby Cinderella Man Two emotional and evocative stories involving boxing, released in 2005. Both movies feature underdog stories of fighters trying to succeed where others would have them fail, each with the support of an engaging mentor. One ends happy, while the other one? Not so much.

The Fighter came out in 2010, a bit late to make weight, but it coulda' been a contender.
This is a rare case of two excellent movies that happened to be released in the same year, instead of a studio quickly greenlighting a cheap imitation of the first. Both were directed by powerhouse directors (Clint Eastwood and Ron Howard), both with stellar casts and critical acclaim. Poor promotion doomed Cinderella Man at the box-office, while Million Dollar Baby was released during a more opportune time of the year, and was far more successful. Million Dollar Baby took home the Oscar, while Cinderella Man was mostly forgotten by the time nominations came around. Million Dollar Baby, though really, everyone wins. See both movies.
Prefontaine Without Limits Late 90's biographical films about Steve Prefontaine. Billy Crudup's depiction of the title character in Without Limits is generally better regarded, as is the directing and production; Prefontaine stands mostly on the basis of greater historical accuracy and a standout performance by R. Lee Ermey. Without Limits, although neither was much of a box office or critical success.
Paranormal Activity The Fourth Kind (very) Loosely-Based on a True Story films that use videotaped sequences to enhance the realism. Paranormal is a Faux Documentary while Fourth is a more conventional film. In terms of the cost-to-earnings ratio Paranormal is the clear winner, being a $15,000 YouTube series that earned millions (and sequels!).
Open Season Over the Hedge All-Star Cast CGI films about wild vs. tame/cosmopolitan animals. Season deals with a tame bear being introduced to the wild while Hedge deals with wild animals being introduced to the suburbs. Interestingly, both films have bears as the catalyst for their respective plots. Though both films were profitable and Open Season had a sequel in production (though that went straight to DVD), Hedge made more money and was much better critically received.
The Legend of the Titanic Titanic: The Legend Goes On Two So Bad It's Good movies VERY LOOSELY based on the Titanic disaster, and the movie Titanic. The fact that they both seem to consider the tragedy of the Titanic to be a "Legend" is very telling. Both of them include talking animals and happy endings. The Legend Of The Titanic attempts more on the storyline part while Titanic The Legend Goes On attempts to have more characters and subplots. Neither of them got a critical success. Commercial success outside Italy at least was very limited for both of them too. However, The Legend of the Titanic managed to get a sequel.
An American Werewolf in London The Howling Two 1981 horror/comedy movies about werewolves. They were the first of their kind to show an "actual" trasformation scene of men turning into wolves. The Howling has six sequels, all crappy stuff; AAWIL only has one, An American Werewolf in Paris, which was mediocre at best. American Werewolf is the better remembered of the two and became something of a cult classic, although Howling came first by a couple of months.
Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief Clash of the Titans Two action-adventure movies with very different target audiences (Percy Jackson is based on a YA book series; Clash is a remake of the 1981 movie). Both are very loosely based on Classical Mythology, up to having an overlapping character roster. Which Zeus do you prefer, Sean Bean or Liam Neeson? The sequel for the Percy Jackson movie was announced before the release. Both films received lukewarm reviews, but Clash did much better financially.
Chasing Liberty First Daughter Could these two films, both released in 2004, have a more similar plot? They're both romantic comedies about a First Daughter who falls in love with a seemingly ordinary young man, only to discover that he's actually an undercover Secret Service. It's unclear which movie is a copy of which; Chasing Liberty was released in January, eight months before the release of First Daughter, but it's uncertain which entered development first. Neither; both films were easily forgettable romantic comedies which made little impact at the box office.
The Road The Book of Eli Both are Post-Apocalyptic-themed movies with a male protagonist safeguarding something they hold dear. The former is trying to survive with his son and the latter is keeping the last Bible on Earth from a corrupt priest. Whilst the two movies deal with some similar themes, The Road is a much more methodical and bleak in its approach whilst The Book of Eli's placed more emphasis on action and had a more Fallout-esque scenario Critically The Road fared much better but just about broke even money wise. The Book of Eli had a significantly better box-office gross.
The A-Team The Losers

Expendables may be a third contender.
Both are capital "A" action movies based on series from other mediums about rag tag groups of government agents who come together to clear their name: The former is The Film of the Series. The latter: An adaptation of Andy Diggle and Jock's re-imagining of a classic WWII DC comic as a group of Special Forces operatives during the War on Terror. The Losers basically is The A-Team, there's never been any doubt or denial that it played a major role in its re-imagining, the timing of the film releases are just unfortunate. The A-Team soundly trounced The Losers at the box office, grossing more in its opening weekend than The Losers in its full run, though both received lukewarm reviews. If The Expendables is counted, however, then it's a clean win by knockout.
Ghostbusters Gremlins Both movies are comedies about ghouls threatening a society of humans. Ghostbusters was about 3 scientists who start a business in catching ghosts and eventually deal with evil gods. Gremlins was about a teenage boy named Billy who gets a Mogwai named Gizmo as a pet, and after accidentally spilling water on poor Gizmo, new Mogwais, led by Stripe, appear and wreak havoc. On their opening weekend, Ghostbusters came out on top at the box office, and was praised by critics and audiences alike, which led to a cartoon series and a sequel. But Gremlins wasn't a total flop as it was the runner-up in the first 6 weeks, and it too also had a sequel.
The Great Mouse Detective An American Tail Both animated movies featuring talking mice in the 1800's, released in 1986 within about four months of each other, with The Great Mouse Detective being released first. Not in direct competition as the films have nothing at all in common but the species of their protagonists and the approximate time period. Still, Disney and Bluth's animation studio did have their eyes on one another. Before this, no other animation studio had been successful in dethroning Disney in the animated film department, and Spielberg and Bluth were attempting to accomplish just that. Understandably, Disney wasn't too worried... at first. An American Tail became the biggest box office success for an animated film ever for its time, and the first to out-perform Disney. Disney re-releasing Lady and the Tramp and Song of the South (!!!) into theaters at the same time in an act of desperation did nothing to slow its momentum either. But The Great Mouse Detective was by no means a box-office bomb, its moderate success helped regain Disney's confidence after a long series of flops. Both movies are just as fondly remembered today.
Oliver and Company All Dogs Go to Heaven Similar to the above, Bluth and Disney faced off again in 1988/1989 with films featuring dogs, little girls, and orphans. Charlie and Dodger look awfully similar, too. All Dogs Go to Heaven, released second, had to compete at the box office (and with the critics) against The Little Mermaid. Both received lukewarm reviews. Oliver and Company vastly outperformed All Dogs Go to Heaven at the box office, but All Dogs Go to Heaven became a hit on VHS and spawned a sequel and a TV series, while Oliver and Company remains one of Disney's least-remembered films.
Repo! The Genetic Opera Repo Men Both sci-fi films about a massive corporation in a Crapsack World that offers organ transplants to the masses, and who send "repo men" assassins to murder those who can't pay their debts. The former, also called Repo!, is a musical, while the latter is an action film based on the 2009 novel, Repossession Mambo.
Despite the names, neither film is a sequel to the '84 SF cult classic Repo Man, whose spiritual sequel Repo Chick was released in fall 2009. Confused yet?
Although it has been reported that the concept for Repo Men was conceived in 2003, some two years AFTER the stage version of Repo! debuted, the author's essay at the back of the novel reveals that Repossession Mambo was his first novel, the one he fell in love with but couldn't sell, and had been in parallel development with the screenplay since 2001. Repo! did OK business in a very, very limited release (i.e. 11 screens nationally), and has since become a cult classic. Repo Men's first weekend gross, although easily bigger, did not match its multi-million dollar production and advertising budget. It also has a lower percentage of positive reviews than Repo! on Rotten Tomatoes.
The Pirates of Penzance The Pirate Movie Both are adaptations of the famous Gilbert and Sullivan operetta The Pirates of Penzance released around 1982-1983. The former is a filmed rendition of the then-running Broadway revival with much of the same cast; the latter is a very-loose rendition of the story with a few of the same songs (and some extras) and a generally 80's feel. The Pirate Movie got to theaters first, in the midst of Penzance's Broadway run, and quickly faded away. Although a box-office bomb itself, the failure of Penzance was caused by Executive Meddling, not lack of interest. The Pirates of Penzance actually enjoyed a long run in one of the 92 theaters that showed it. The Pirates of Penzance, with a higher Rotten Tomatoes score and a Golden Globe nom for Best Actress. The Pirate Movie bombed critically and earned a few Razzie nominations.
Machete The Expendables Both films feature outrageous special effects and stunts to tell a barely-there story and feature numerous oldschool actors returning to type of roles that made them famous, gleefully employing the Nostalgia Filter all the while. Machete is a loving Homage to over-the-top 70's exploitation films directed by Robert Rodriguez and featuring a star-studded cast; Expendables has the participation of 80's action stars Sylvester Stallone (who directed, wrote and plays the lead) Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has a cameo. Possible tie: Machete enjoyed a slight critical edge, while The Expendables had a significantly higher box office gross (and a sequel).
Red Dawn (the remake) Tomorrow, When the War Began Foreign armies invade small-town America/Australia, and a group of teenagers take to the hills to fight back guerrilla-style. The first is a remake of the classic 1984 Cold War action movie, updating the villains from the Soviet Union to the People's Republic of China (or North Korea) and moving the action from Colorado to Washington state. The second is an adaptation of the first book of an Australian Young Adult series published in the '90s that, while hugely popular in Australia (to the point of being compared to Harry Potter in cultural influence), never caught on overseas. So far, Tomorrow wins by default, as the Red Dawn remake, despite being finished and in the can, has had its release pushed back for years thanks to MGM's financial woes and concerns about Chinese distribution (the reason why the villains were changed to North Koreans in post-production). It's currently set to be released in 2012.
Alpha and Omega Rio, and Newt All three films involve two animals of the same species, opposite genders, and (at least confirmed in the cases of Newt and Alpha) opposite personalities being put together for the purposes of repopulating their species. Alpha and Omega came out in Fall 2010 (and was the final film for its late star, Dennis Hopper), Rio in 2011, and Newt would have come out in 2012. Pixar canceled Newt so that they could avoid the Dueling Movies problem. Alpha and Omega (from Crest Animation) is about two wolves (Kate and Humphrey) who are captured and released far from home to increase the wolf population in the area. They work together to get home. Rio (from Blue Sky Studios) is about two birds (Blu and Jewel). Blu thinks he is the Last of His Kind and travels to find Jewel. Newt was about two newts (Newt and Brooke) - he's extremely sheltered, she's tough and street, er, wilderness-smart and they don't like each other - and their need to save their species. Unfortunately, Pixar decided to drop out. Rio is definitely the winner it brought in five times as much as Alpha and Omega and had much better reviews.
Killers Knight and Day A hitman and a normal gal who gets caught up in his spy-based hi-jinks. The Tourist also looks rather similar to those films, only the gender roles are reversed. Knight and Day fared somewhat better as it received relatively decent reviews, and even though it opened to disappointing numbers it made over $200 million, whereas Killers wasn't screened for critics (and those that did see it didn't like it much to say the least) and barely made back its budget.
The Back-Up Plan The Switch (formerly The Baster) Rom-coms about hilarity ensuing after a single woman undergoes artificial insemination. Back-Up is thouroughly a Chick Flick while Switch is more about the effect this has on the male characters. Neither; although The Switch received slightly better reviews than Back-Up, both opened to disappointing numbers.
Buried 127 Hours Suspenseful films about a man trapped in a very tight place for a very long time. In a funny coincedence, both star actors who were/will be in comic book movies with the word green in their names (Green Lantern and Green Goblin, respectively). Buried, about a man who's trapped in a coffin and buried somewhere in Iraq with only a dying cellphone for communication, is fictional while Hours is based on a Real Life hiker who cut off his own hand to free himself after it was pinned by a boulder. Both had really good reviews, but 127 Hours has been tapped as potential Oscar Bait, and has been nominated for several awards. Both were considered good in various ways.
Chapter 27 The Killing Of John Lennon Docudramas about Mark David Chapman in the days / months (respectively) before he murdered John Lennon. Chapter 27 covers just the three days before the event, TKOJL covers months beforehand. Chapter 27 is far more well-known, TKOJL was much-lower budget and less commercial. Chapter 27 had Jared Leto put on a lot of weight for the role, TKOJL didn't. Neither film is considered very good.
The Truman Show EDtv Both films revolve around a guy whose every moves are followed by TV cameras. The Truman Show has its protagonist not be aware of the true nature of his life, and revolves around discovering it and attempting to escape. Ed TV has its protagonist living in the real world and signing up for the show, and him dealing with the ramifications on his life and loss of privacy. The Truman Show is held in higher esteem due to its greater philosophical depth and dramatic weight, but EDtv is highly enjoyable comedy which has in hindsight proved remarkably prescient.
Evita Eva Peron: The True Story Both films are biopics of former Argentinian First Lady Eva Peron, the "Spiritual Leader of the Nation". The former is the film version of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical; the latter is an Argentinian-produced biopic. Eva Peron was put into production by the Argentinian Government to counter the musical's less-than-flattering account of Peron. Both films were released in the U.S. a week apart in December, 1996. Evita ended up getting the most notice, including the Academy Award for its song "You Must Love Me."
Iron Man The Dark Knight,

(*The Green Hornet)
Two movies that came out the same summer (and one that would have) in which, after traumatic events, wealthy sons become masked super heroes with pimped-out mechanical aids; they also have butlers and/or a leggy Sassy Secretary (well, two out of three) and a really Cool/Weaponized Car. The heroes pose as apathetic playboys who own their own corporations and have a close friend/business partner who is also a minority. Not only were Iron Man and The Dark Knight dueling movies, but they were also dueling between rival Super Hero Comic Companies during their release in 2008. Green Hornet, on the other hand, was pushed back to Januray 2011 due to the studio converting to 3-D. Both Iron Man and Dark Knight received huge critical acclaim and did great at the box office, but The Dark Knight wins on a slight edge. Iron Man got a sequel sooner, but The Dark Knight did better critically and financially. And that's not to mention The Dark Knight winning the first ever acting Oscar for a Comic Book movie with Heath Ledger winning posthumously for his portrayal of The Joker. Green Hornet, when it finally was released, it received mixed reviews and modest box office, which, in all fairness, is probably better than it would have done if it was released on time to compete with the other two.
Avatar Alice in Wonderland Big Movies from famously imaginative directors with extensive 3D visual effects about a person who undergoes a physical change (and considerable Clothing Damage) in a dangerous World of Chaos where they're compelled to lead the oppressed animals/residents into battle against a person with a facial deformity and a Dragon. They also get admonished by blue people with glowing spots. Dreams and eyes are a big motif. Avatar has a male protagonist who chooses to stay in the new world after fighting a ship called the Dragon; Alice decides to go back to the real world after fighting an actual dragon but has the option of returning. Both also include nods to The Lord of the Rings: Avatar had the same effects company and Alice had a few Shout-Outs. Both made a lot of money, both would be nominated for special effects awards. Avatar got significantly better reviews, however. Their respective DVD releases are a bit odd: Avatar released a Vanilla Edition while Alice rushed its DVD only a few months after its premier, which annoyed some UK distributors to the point where they didn't bother to play the film at all.
Defendor Kick Ass Super Three movies about average people trying to become gadget based low budget vigilantes and end up having brushes with local organized crime. The major difference definitely falls in the personalities of the superheroes. Kick-Ass is an average nerdy teen while Defendor is a mentally disturbed homeless man that has delusions of certain supervillians. Super's Crimson Bolt suffers similar deranged illusions, but is slightly more stable. Kick Ass becomes more stylized as it goes along while the other two have a more realistic look to them. This could be chalked up to budget differences, as Kick Ass (while low budget by Hollywood standards) cost over ten times as much as either of the other two. Super was released only on select arthouse theater screens, limiting its mainstream marketability and received mixed reviews but was a success on VOD. Defendor had a limited release and will likely have a cult status. Kick Ass was a commercial success and received mostly positive reviews (Roger Ebert hated it, some others were kinder).
Middle Men The Social Network Origin stories about the start of internet revolutions by rather ordinary men, and the hazards of falling out with one's partners after making a great deal of money. Middle Men is about the development of online porn, while The Social Network is "the Facebook movie." No contest -- The Social Network grossed far more, received much better reviews, won three Academy Awards and four Golden Globes, and has been hailed as one of the defining movies of its generation. Middle Men, meanwhile, received mixed reviews and made little money in its limited theatrical release.
Catfish The Virginity Hit Internet sites (Facebook and YouTube, respectively) are used to chronicle uncomfortable intimate relationships. Catfish is a documentary while Virginity is a regular comedy shot with Jittercam. Both have had controversy in that Catfish is suspected of being fake (not helping was the director's next project being the third Parnormal Activity film) and Virginity's ads coincided with (or possibly inspired) two real-life college students to film their roommate's intimate encounter, outing him as gay and causing him to kill himself. Catfish wins this one as its success in limited release far surpasses The Virginity Hit, which had one of the worst nationwide openings in recent memory. The Virginity Hit had Matt Bennett though, so time will tell.
Funny People The Ugly Truth Comedy films from the people behind Knocked Up, both released in the summer of 2009. Director Judd Apatow and lead actor Seth Rogen made Funny People, whereas lead actress Katherine Heigl was the female lead in The Ugly Truth. In the intervening two years, Heigl had burned her bridges with Apatow and Rogen in a series of rather opinionated interviews. Funny People was better reviewed, but grossed barely a third of what The Ugly Truth managed worldwide.
Dark Moon Apollo 18 Found Footage Films about a previously unknown Apollo 18 moon landing, and what the astronauts found there. Dark Moon seems to have been in production longer, but Apollo 18 hit the cinemas first. The results remain to be seen.
Inside Job I Want Your Money Competing documentaries about the ongoing economics crisis, released one week apart in October 2010. While the former places the blame on both capitalism and politics, the latter (a Documentary of Lies) places all of the blame on Barack Obama (who wasn't even President when it happened). Inside Job was critically acclaimed, became an arthouse hit and won an Oscar, I Want Your Money was critically savaged and only lasted a week in most theatres.
Crazy Heart Country Strong Troubled country singers (played by Oscar winners who do their own singing) make comebacks while trying to navigate potential new loves and Younger and Hipper rivals. While Crazy Hearts male protagonist is long past his prime, Country Stongs female protagonist is still wildly popular. Crazy Heart earned Jeff Bridges an Oscar; Country Strong... really didn't go that way for Gwyneth Paltrow. Also, in a roundabout way Paltrow's character falls for Bridges' son.
No Strings Attached Friends With Benefits Rom Com starring combinations of a member of That '70s Show and Black Swan (Ashton Kutcher & Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis & Justin Timberlake, respectively) wherein the question of "can we have sex and still be friends?" is pondered. Both films were modestly successful box-office wise, though Friends wins with its mostly positive reviews compared to Strings' mixed critical reaction.
Silent Hill The Dark Supernatural horror about a mother searching for her daughter and comes across the identical ghost of a little girl who wants to take her daughter's place. Mother has to search a mysterious 'Otherworld' to find her daughter. Sean Bean plays the dad in both. Both films feature religious cults, an Otherworld, missing daughters and a Mama Bear as the main protagonist. Interestingly with Silent Hill; its original story was about about a father going to look for his daughter but the director thought it was more in character for a mother to care enough to go through hell to save their child. Silent Hill was pretty well received for a video game adaptation, while few even seem to know of The Dark's existence.
Ninja Assassin Ninja A movie about Badass Ninjas. Ninja Assassin was produced by the creators of The Matrix and starts Korean pop star Rain, while Ninja was directed by director Isaac Florentine and was a Direct to Video release. Ninja Assassin. No contest.
Thor Green Lantern Superhero movies with the involvement of forces from beyond our world, whether alien or divine. Another Marvel vs. DC duel. Thor got much better reviews, and performed better at the box office.
Battle: Los Angeles Skyline Aliens attack Los Angeles. Battle Los Angeles began production first and focuses solely on the military fighting aliens. Skyline began production after (but got released first) and focuses on the military and regular people fighting aliens. Both Skyline and Battle Los Angeles were panned by critics (though the latter not quite as badly). However, audiences reacted much more favorably to Battle Los Angeles, and while Skyline made a profit ($65 million worldwide on a $10 million budget), Battle Los Angeles (costing $100 million) made close to as much in its opening weekend as Skyline made during its entire run. Battle Los Angeles is the clear winner when all is said and done. To say nothing about a lawsuit that occurred between both Sony and effects studio Hydraulx[1] during production of the films.
Skyline The Darkest Hour Independently-produced films about alien invasions in major cities. Skyline is set in Los Angeles, while The Darkest Hour is set in Moscow and was produced by Timur Bekmambetov (of Night Watch and Wanted fame). Both films were ravaged by critics, though Skyline managed to make a lot more money on a much smaller budget than The Darkest Hour, which bombed at the box office.
Underworld Evolution Ultraviolet Comic book movie sans an actual comic (Ultraviolet even starts with fake comics that the film's based on). A vampire war/rebellion led by a shapely Action Girl. It seems that most of Ultraviolet's vampire references (the heroine and her pals are infected with a virus that mimics vampirism; the MacGuffin is a possible cure) were cut out so as to distance itself from Underworld, which led to some audience confusion. Underworld: Evolution did well enough to continue the franchise with at least two more sequels. Ultraviolet, while visually striking, didn't do well enough to start its franchise.
Underworld Series Resident Evil Series Both series revolve around a Badass Abnormal Hot Amazon Action Girl protagonist and her struggles against various supernatural foes. They are both known for their highly stylized cinematography. Both franchises moved to 3-D with their respective fourth entries. Oh, and the lead actresses of each franchise (Kate Beckinsale and Milla Jovovich) later married the respective directors of each series' first film (Len Wiseman and Paul W. S. Anderson). Underworld is an Urban Fantasy story about the war between vampires and werewolves, while Resident Evil is a Zombie Apocalypse story adapted from the video game series. Screen Gems Pictures, which produces both series and makes roughly even money from both of them. Though both series are critically reviled, they have been rather successful at the box office. Also, they have never had to compete with one another at the box office, with Underworld and Resident Evil films coming out in alternating years, until 2012 that is, although Underwold: Awakening and Resident Evil: Retribution will be in theaters at the different times of the year. Critically, both series tend to be regarded as cinematic junk food, though Underworld wins by a small margin given that the RE films also have a Hatedom from fans of the games. Commercially, on the other hand, RE wins hands-down, having grossed over twice as much money as the Underworld films.
The Horror Show Shocker Both movies center around serial killers who meet their demise in the electric chair. The killer in question has made supernatural precautions and returns from death to torment those who captured him. Both films were released 1989 with a six month gap between them. Neither faired well in the box office, but Shocker at least made its money back.
The Blind Side Precious Big-boned, illiterate African American teens from the inner-city find hope and redepmtion from their teachers and their friends. One goes on to a have a career in the NFL while another dies of AIDS in the sequel novel. Blind Side was based on a true story while Precious is a fictional (but depressingly plausible) novel. Both won Oscars in the actress categories for their characters' mothers (Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Touhy and Mo'Nique as Mary Jones) and an episode of Law and Order SVU managed to combine the two (Blind Side's lead actor and his evil, abusive (to her sister, not her son) mother).
Shutter Island Inception 2010 Mind Screw thrillers starring Leonardo DiCaprio as a man apart from society who can have difficulty telling dreams from reality and is alternately helped and tormented by his meaningfully-named, mentally troubled wife who he killed. Dicaprio's characters are a bit different: in Shutter Island he's a man jailed for killing his wife after ignoring her mental illness which causes her to murder their kids and he creates a delusion that he's after the man who killed her. In Inception he's a "dream thief" who tested his theory of implanting ideas on his wife which caused her to think reality wasn't real, killed herself, and framed him for murder so he'd want to join her. Both movies opened to great reviews, but Inception was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.
Inception The Adjustment Bureau, Limitless, Source Code Action movies with strong philosphical/Mind Screw elements. Inception was released in 2010 and all of the imitators were previewed/released within the next year. Inception is the most popular among both critics and general audiences; the others have gotten mediocre to good reviews.
Runaway The Terminator Both films, released within a month of one another in late 1984, dealt with robotics gone amuck, but to varying degrees. One had robots as household appliances trying to run and the other had robots in the future trying to wipe out the future human leader of La Résistance. Terminator was a B-movie, with non-household names and written/directed by an unknown. Runaway starred Tom Selleck of Magnum, P.I. and Gene Simmons, and was written and directed by accomplished sci-fi author Michael Crichton. Terminator spawned three sequels and a TV show, plus numerous video games and comic books, along with launching the careers of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Linda Carter, and James Cameron. Aspiring filmmakers, let this be a lesson that your crappy fever-induced script does have a chance of beating an A-Movie and becoming a multi-million dollar franchise.
K-9 Turner And Hooch "Police officer teamed up with dog" flicks, both released within a few months of each other in 1989. K-9 was released first, and co-starred Jim Belushi and an Alsatian, while Turner and Hooch teamed Tom Hanks with a French mastiff. Oh, and the dog in K-9 survived, but his counterpart in Turner and Hooch was... less lucky. A draw. Turner and Hooch grossed a bit more at the box office, but K-9 got two direct-to-video sequels, while Turner and Hooch only managed a failed TV pilot. Neither film was particularly well reviewed.
Bad Teacher Larry Crowne Female teachers (high school and community college, respectively) engage in bad behavior. Larry Crowne has the star-power of Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts (plus an Oprah-bump) while Bad Teacher has ex-lovers Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake. Neither film did well with critics, but Bad Teacher has made more money.
Bad Teacher Horrible Bosses Normally bright and chipper actresses play comically sociopathic Jerkasses(Cameron Diaz is an Apathetic Teacher / Gold Digger and Jennifer Anniston as a Memetic Molester, respectively) in raunchy R-rated comedies. Bad Teacher is a nigh-Villain Protagonist while the sexual harassing dentist is just an antagonist. Horrible Bosses received mixed reviews, compared to Bad Teacher's more outwardly negative ones, though both films were very succesful at the box-office.
Bad Teacher Young Adult 2011 R-rated comedies starring beautiful women with ugly (or at least very immature) personalities. Bad Teacher is a mainstream comedy in the Judd Apatow mold, while Young Adult is more cynical and autobiographical. Bad Teacher received mixed reviews but was a box office smash, while Young Adult has largely flown under audiences' radars but has won the affection of critics.
Monsters, Inc. Ice Age Two kid-friendly animated comedy/adventure movies, released within 5 months of each other in 2001-2002. In each, a team of odd-looking but lovable-when-you-get-to-know-them creatures endures many hazards as they strive to deliver a cute toddler to safety. MI is set in an imaginatively detailed alternate world (Pixar showing its strengths), populated by fanciful 'monsters'. IA stars actual (if now-extinct) species, residing in prehistoric Earth. Monsters, Inc. won greater critical acclaim (a 95% rating at Rotten Tomatoes and nomination for Best Animated Picture), and had a higher box-office take. But Ice Age is not a distant second; it did respectably in both departments (78% RT rating), and spawned two sequels (with a third scheduled for release in 2012.)
Terminal Velocity Drop Zone Films based around Special Forces skydivers, both released in late 1994. Drop Zone was supposed to be released first, but reshoots ended up delaying it until after Terminal Velocity was released. Both films also starred actors who have experienced personal trouble in recent years -- Charlie Sheen was the star of Terminal Velocity, while Wesley Snipes was the lead for Drop Zone. Absolutely no winners here. Both films got horrible reviews and failed miserably at the box office, with neither film making back even half of its budget and marketing costs.
Braveheart Rob Roy Films featuring legendary Scottish heroes sticking it the evil and fruity English. While both were criticised for their... liberties with history, Braveheart grossed far higher in the BO and took home the Best Picture Oscar, while Rob Roy barely made back its budget (though it still received good reviews). Rob Roy is now largely forgotten while Braveheart, despite having a good reputation and influence, has had some Hype Backlash and is the punchline of many a Scottish comedian.
You Only Live Twice Casino Royale 1967 James Bond films. The former is an official Bond film, while the latter is a parody made by the man who held the rights to that particular novel. Bond's production company eventually got the rights to Casino Royale, both novel (which was adapted as the first Daniel Craig Bond) and movie. You Only Live Twice, which had better reviews and box office. Casino Royale is widely considered a train wreck whose only lasting appeal is the Burt Bacharach score.
Octopussy Never Say Never Again Again, James Bond films. The former is official, and the latter is a remake of Thunderball, done by the guy who had the rights to said novel. Similar to the above, the former is official, and the latter is a remake of Thunderball done by the guy who owned the rights to said novel. The latter has the return of Sean Connery as 007—hence Never Say Never Again. Bond's production company eventually got the rights to said movie (its Blu-Ray release is even listed among the official ones!), and halted the production of another remake in the 90's. Both were box office successes, but Octopussy grossed more.
Pontypool Dead Air 2009 films about a viral infection that turns people into mindless and violent lunatics, both from the perspective of a DJ stuck inside the recording studio while everything is going to hell. In Pontypool it is language itself that triggers the infection, while in Dead Air the cause is a more conventional terrorist attack. Pontypool has gained better reviews overall.
Mirror Mirror Snow White and the Huntsman 2012 live-action versions of "Snow White". Mirror Mirror is more humorous and family friendly, whereas Snow White and the Huntsman is more of a horror movie. The former has Lily Collins (Touhy) as Snow White and Julia Roberts as the evil queen; the latter has Bella and Thor as the title characters and Eileen Wournos as the evil queen! Too early to tell; only one has been released so far. Incidentally the director of SWATH isn't worried about competition since one is for kids and the other's for adults. A third film by Disney, titled Order of the Seven is set to skew the action film route with the dwarves replaced by an international group of martial artists.
Cowboys and Aliens Attack the Block 2011 Genre mash-ups where aliens invade during an American western and a mugging in London, respectively Both opened on the same day and both have fanboy-fave directors (Jon Favreau and Edgar Wright), but Cowboys and Aliens had a Comic Con presence and an All-Star Cast. Cowboys and Aliens had a wider release but mixed reviews while Attack The Block got a small release and relatively great reviews.
Big Fat Liar Max Keeble's Big Move Two movies released within six months of each other about a kid seeking revenge on an adult or, in Max's case, adults. Big Fat Liar had a bigger box office gross and is more widely remembered.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Van Helsing Characters from multiple stories team up to save or destroy the world. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde feature in both. "LXG"'s team comes from classic, mostly public-domain stories while "Van Helsing"'s monsters are all from Universal Studios (fun fact: the original plan was a direct sequel/prequel to "Bram Stoker's Dracula" but Anthony Hopkins was too old). Both did all right but a sequel is highly unlikely.
Natural Born Killers S.F.W. Movies released in 1994 that satirize the news media's obsession with violence. The main characters in NBK are Villain Protagonists, while the main characters in S.F.W. are the survivors of a hostage situation going through their Fifteen Minutes of Fame. The latter film is also very, very Grunge-y and '90s (its title is an acronym for "So F**king What"), to the point of being an Unintentional Period Piece. Natural Born Killers stands as a classic (albeit a very controversial one) and a landmark of both the decade and Oliver Stone's career, while S.F.W. would mostly be forgotten if not for the fact that it starred a young Reese Witherspoon.
War Of The Buttons The New War Of The Buttons Rival French productions in 2011 based on the exact same source material (the work had just gone into the public domain). However, the "new" one is set during World War II, and its rival during the War of Algeria, so they deal with differing issues (the original novel was set in the peaceful "Belle Epoque"). War Of The Buttons was pitched first and has unknown actors in the cast. The New War Of The Buttons was pitched five months later and has a few name actors (such as Guillaume Canet and Laetitia Casta) in its cast. Both films ended up opening a week apart. War Of The Buttons had the bigger opening but it's too soon to tell.
Lambada The Forbidden Dance Projects from the former heads of Cannon Films focused on the lambada dance craze. Lambada was greenlit first in late 1989 for a May 1990 release. Then, The Forbidden Dance was greenlit for a release a month earlier. Eventually, both films ended up moving up and were released on the same day (Lambada had finished filming eleven days before release, The Forbidden Dance was finished a few weeks before). Neither won as both films flopped at the box office. Lambada made a little more money though.
The Man Who Laughs Laugh Clown Laugh 1928 silent films about tormented clowns and the beautiful young orphan girls they love. There was also a 1924 precursor called He Who Gets Slapped. The Man Who Laughs is the better-regarded and much better-remembered now, in large part because the main character was the inspiration for The Joker.
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory West of Memphis Documentaries about the West Memphis 3 and the near two decade-long battle to prove their innocence. Purgatory is the final chapter of the Paradise Lost series and is directed by Joe Berlinger, West of Memphis was produced by Peter Jackson and actually has Damien Echols (one of the West Memphis 3) as a producer, making that film more or less a first-person account of the events. Purgatory has been amassing near-unanimous acclaim and is on the Oscar documentary shortlist, West of Memphis is currently in post-production. Both are awaiting theatrical release.
Young Adult The Great Gatsby Delusional thirty-something hopes to restart their life by reconnecting with teen-era lover, despite said lover getting married and having a kid, under a "friend's" disapproving eye. Gatsby's obsession with Daisy spanned an entire world war and is the reason he acquired all that cash while Young Adult's Mavis's obsession with her high school boyfriend Buddy seemes to be more of a midlife crisis. Also, Buddy is Happily Married while Daisy... kind of isn't. So far Young Adult has really great reviews while Gatsby, which will open in 2012, has a potentially great cast with Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby and Carey Mulligan as Daisy (and it's Baz Luhrmann in 3-D!).
Soul Surfer Dolphin Tale Aquatic-themed inspirational movies about limb-loss that also happen to center around a competition in which the underdog must compete. Soul Surfer has the girl lose her arm while Dolphin Tale has the dolphin lose her tail. Dolphin Tale scored better at the Box Office, although they both earned rather mixed reviews from critics.
Lovelace Inferno Competing biopics about the famed porn star Linda Lovelace. Inferno was in development first and originally had Lindsay Lohan attached to star (Malin Akerman has replaced her) while Lovelace is being fast-tracked by Millennium Films to beat Inferno to theatres (and will have Amanda Seyfried starring). Lovelace wins before release as Inferno felt apart due to budget issues.
Prep and Landing (TV special) Arthur Christmas Stories sharing a similar concept of Santa Claus and his elves using advanced technology and secret agent techniques to deliver all those toys though soon, one child's Christmas has to be saved. The original special and Arthur Christmas were put in development close to the same time, though as a film, Arthur Christmas took longer. While Prep and Landing focused primarily on the elves and hid the faces of the Clauses, the story of Arthur Christmas focuses on the Claus family relationships. Prep and Landing was successful enough on ABC to receive a follow-up short and a sequel. Arthur Christmas, on the other hand, had trouble at the box-office when faced with The Muppets and Breaking Dawn; however, it was blessed with rave reviews.
Hugo Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close From Entertainment Weekly: All-Star Cast movie about young boy who goes on a journey of discovery after finding a mysterious key left by his dead father and helps an old man. Hugo takes place in Paris in The Thirties (lovingly recreated by Scorsese) while Extremely Loud takes place before and after 9/11 (which Hollywood hasn't yet grasped is no longer The Present Day). Hugo, by a wide critical and award-winning margin.
The Muppets Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked Long Runner franchise-based family movies where Funny Animal characters interact with humans (portrayed by celebrity actors). Both movies feature various musical numbers. While Alvin 3 mostly relied on Getting Crap Past the Radar and crude humor to appeal to older audiences, and was a sequel to a kids' movie that had already been a big hit, The Muppets relied on nostalgia for Jim Henson's brand of entertainment as seen on The Muppet Show. Also notable is that Alvin 3's Funny Animals were rendered in CGI (a bigger draw for kids), whereas the ones in The Muppets were... well, Muppets. The Muppets got rave reviews and decent box office returns, but thanks to Breaking Dawn, wasn't able to perform as well as it potentially could have. Alvin 3, on the other hand, was savaged by critics, but made more money than The Muppets. This wasn't the first time that a Chipmunks movie beat out better-reviewed competition from Disney.
The Avengers The Dark Knight Rises Superhero films based on Marvel Comics and DC Comics. The Avengers is a team-up movie featuring (some of) Marvel's greatest superheroes - Iron Man, Captain America (comics), Thor and others. The Dark Knight Rises is about Batman. Both movies are the culmination of their respective franchises spanning over several years. The Avengers is the climax of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date (although more films are planned), while The Dark Knight Rises is the definite end of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy. Hard to say until both films are released. Critically at least, the Batman movies directed by Nolan have fared better than the Marvel movies by several different directors (The Avengers is helmed by Joss Whedon). But box office-wise, both franchises are licenses to print money. (Somewhat obscured amidst the massive hype for both movies is a third major superhero film, a Continuity Reboot of the Spider-Man film series called The Amazing Spider-Man.)
Rogue Black Water Two, 2007 Australian movies about crocodiles that were based on true stories released within months of one another. Rogue stars Rhada Mitchell, Michael Varten and a then unknown Sam Worthington and was directed by Greg Mclean. Black Water's stars are more or less unknown outside of Australian. Both movies faired poorly at the box office, but Rogue has a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and the CGI crocodile impressed across the board. Black Water was not as well received and though they utilised footage of real crocodiles, some critics felt this led to a great amount of inconsistency.
Victor Victoria Tootsie 1982 comedies in which an out-of-work performer resorts to posing as the opposite gender to get a job. Career success comes with romantic challenges due to having to keep up the charade. The former film is about a woman masquerading as a man (selling "himself" as a female impersonator) in 1930s Paris, and is a diegetic musical; the latter has a man masquerading as a woman to land a Soap Opera role in what was then present-day New York City. The movies were released far enough apart (March and December) that they didn't step on each other's toes, and both got great reviews. Tootsie turned out to be the second biggest box-office hit of 1982 and made it to #2 on the AFI's list of the 100 funniest comedies in 2000 (the movie that beat it? Some Like It Hot) -- but Victor Victoria also did well financially, is #76 on that list, and had an unsuccessful Screen to Stage Adaptation in 1995. Both movies received a clutch of Academy Award nominations and each won one (Song Score for the former, Supporting Actress for the latter). Everybody came out a winner on this one.
Can't Stop the Music Xanadu 1980 disco musicals, each with a $20 million budget, that double as non-actor vehicles. Both involve alumni of the 1978 blockbuster Grease: producer Allan Carr and screenwriter Bronte Woodard with the former, and lead actress Olivia Newton-John with the latter. (Carr wanted Newton-John for the female lead in Can't Stop, but it didn't work out.) The former fictionalizes the creation and rise to stardom of The Village People and intertwines it with a romance between an uptight lawyer (Bruce Jenner) and a feisty ex-model (Valerie Perrine). The latter is a fantasy about a Greek Muse (Newton-John) who inspires a struggling artist (Michael Beck) to open a lavish roller disco; complications ensue when she falls in love with him. Can't Stop opened in June, Xanadu in August—either way, they were victims of the "Disco Sucks" backlash. Both received wretched reviews and derailed the film careers of several of their leads. They inspired the very first Golden Raspberry Awards when they ran as a double feature; the former "won" Worst Picture and Screenplay, and the latter Worst Director. But Xanadu barely made back its budget, had a hit soundtrack, became a Camp classic via cable, and received an intentionally tongue-in-cheek Screen to Stage Adaptation in 2007. Can't Stop the Music only grossed $2 million and sounded the death knell for The Village People's popularity.
Legend Labyrinth Big-budget, lavishly designed and special effects-heavy fantasies with a youthful hero/heroine and newfound fantastical companions on a quest to face off with a Big Bad and right a terrible wrong. A major plot point has the seductive, Large Ham villain (played by Tim Curry in the former, David Bowie in the latter) attempting to woo the leading lady. Both films share a cinematographer (Alex Thomson). While in the U.K. they were Christmas releases for 1985 and '86, respectively, the North American releases were but two months apart in the spring/summer of '86. The two movies take Hero's Journey in different directions. Ridley Scott's Legend is an archetypal, straightforward Fairy Tale with a Nature Hero saving a Princess Classic and unicorns from a villain who's effectively Satan, and the fate of the world is at stake. Jim Henson's Labyrinth is an often-humorous musical take on the Down the Rabbit Hole plot, with the Present Day heroine merely seeking to rescue the baby brother she wished away into the land of the Goblin King, and the major characters have more complex personalities and development. The former film uses prosthetic makeup for its non-human characters, while the latter uses animatronic puppets instead. Both films were box-office flops in the U.S., the latter only doing a little better than the former with critics, but gained cult followings on the video market. In recent years, Legend's reputation has gone up a bit thanks to a Director's Cut (the U.S. release was significantly shorter and had a completely different score), but Labyrinth has proven popular enough to spawn several memes and an Expanded Universe in graphic novel form.
ParaNorman Frankenweenie Battle of the stop-motion kids' horror movies 2012! Norman sees dead people (and zombies), is in color, and produced by the makers of Coraline while Victor brought his dog back to life, is Deliberately Monochrome, and is a remake of director Tim Burton's live-action Short Film. If the trailers are any indication everyone wins.
Pixels Wreck-It Ralph All CGI Cartoon about video game characters Pixels is an expansion of a short film, and appears to be about video game characters invading the real world. Wreck-It Ralph is a Disney feature about an Expy of Donkey Kong and Bluto trying to prove he has what it takes to be a hero. Too soon to tell.
Recess: School's Out Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius A group of elementary school kids save the world with a 2001 release date Recess: School's Out was based on the Disney TV show and focused on the main six trying to stop a madman from getting rid of summer vacation, while Jimmy Neutron served as a pilot to it's Nickelodeon TV series and focused on Jimmy and the rest of the kids in town to save their parents from being killed by aliens. Also, Neutron was in CGI, while Recess had traditional animation. And while Recess didn't have much competition, Neutron was competing with Monsters, Inc.. Both movies were loved by critics and did well in the box office, though Neutron had a somewhat larger gross and was nominated for an Oscar (As it wasn't based on a TV show like Recess). Neutron followed with a TV series, while Recess followed with it's show being Uncancelled (as the movie was going to serve as the finale) and gaining two sequels (released Direct to Video)
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Lincoln Films about Abraham Lincoln, opening six months apart. One of them is slightly more historically accurate than the other (hint: it's the one directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Daniel Day-Lewis). Too early to call.
The Cabin in the Woods Detention Post-modern, Genre Busting takes on the Horror genre that were released the same weekend. Detention was made by Joseph Kahn,[2] opened in limited release, and is chiefly a satire of modern teenage life. Cabin was made by the team of Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, got a wide release after spending years sitting on the shelf due to MGM crashing and burning, and is a Deconstructor Fleet for horror movies. Cabin got near-universal praise, made much more money and is already being revered as one of the greats in the genre, while Detention split critics and is likely to wind up a Cult Classic.
John Carter The Hunger Games Spring 2012 YA-novel-based scifi adventures. Carter is in the "originator" slot because it opened two weeks earlier. JC's source material is hugely influential in speculative-fiction circles (leading to buckets of Seinfeld Is Unfunny), set on an alien-populated Mars and peaked in popularity 80 years ago. THG critiques Reality TV, is set in a dystopic future America and is at the height of its popularity now. While JC got good reviews and most people who actually saw it loved it, it flopped so hard that Disney took a nearly $100 million writedown. THG was well received by critics, set a new box office record for a non-sequel, made its $90 million budget back by Friday evening and went on to a monthlong run as #1 movie in the US, hitting the $500 million mark on its fourth weekend. The press is already dissecting what Disney's marketing team got wrong and what Lionsgate's got right.
Emma Emma Prestige adaptations of Jane Austen's last completed novel starring rising stars supported by the best the British repertory had to offer. The McGrath/Paltrow/Northam adaptation was a theatrical release from primarily American creators (the director, studio, and eponymous lead). The Davies/Beckinsale/Strong production was a telefilm from Britain's ITV, springboarding off the success of Davies and producer Sue Birtwistle's previous Pride and Prejudice miniseries. The McGrath/Paltrow/Northam film tends to have a slight edge, due to its friendlier, sweeter timbre. However, both tend to be fondly remembered (except by fans of the other version). When the 2009 BBC miniseries was released, many simply added a third adaptation to their list of favorite Emma adaptations. (As a side note, Austen films tend to be duelling movies given the passion and long memories of the fanbase. The clustering of film and television releases from 1995-1996 and 2005-2009 highlighted this fact.)
Rags Make It Shine TV movie about a teen boy who wants to be a singing star but has a disapproving father. Elsewhere, successful African-American female pop star wishes to sing her own music her own way. The two meet up and (presumably) achieve their respective goals. Rags is Nickelodeon and Let It Shine is Disney Channel. Too soon to tell, as Rags premiered May 28 and Let It Shine is due to premiere June 15.
Iron Eagle Top Gun Two films about young recruits in military aviation. Have you even heard of Iron Eagle? Top Gun wins by a landslide.
Captain Marvel Shazam! Two superhero movies starring a (different) hero named Captain Marvel. Brie Larson's charisma black hole gives her less chemistry with her cast than the CGI cat, sinking Captain Marvel on top of other issues. Shazam! came off Sleeper Hit Aquaman to good reception.
  1. who produced Skyline, but also did effects for Battle: LA.
  2. Maker of the Cult Classic action film Torque, a Stealth Parody of The Fast and the Furious