21 Nearly Identical Movies That Came Out Around The Same Time

white house down olympus has fallenBoth ‘WHD’ and ‘OHF’ featured main characters saving presidents from an all out attack on the White House. ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ was released in March.

Action thriller “White House Down” came out over the weekend, debuting to less than favourable box-office numbers.

The film earned nearly $10 million less than the $35 million analysts predicted the Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx hostage crisis would make. 

Surely this wasn’t because Channing Tatum’s popularity has worn out at theatres. 

He was one of the biggest box-office draws of 2012 AND crowned People’s “Sexiest Man Alive.”

Rather film’s critics were turned off by how strikingly similar the film was to previous March Film District release, “Olympus Has Fallen.”

In a bloated box-office summer where there are so many options to see, it’s little surprise crowds would opt out of seeing something that looks vaguely familiar from months ago.

This isn’t the first time two films with eerily similar plots have been released around the same time. We’ve rounded up a number of “twin” films that have come out months apart in theatres over the years.

Why does this happen so frequently?

It’s the same reason we’ll see multiple shows about vampires, finding true love, and serial killers flood the airwaves.

It’s all about the competition.

Forbes contributor Mark Hughes summed it up best in a 2011 post on Quora saying sometimes it’s just coincidence. However, it could be to piggyback off a competitor’s potentially — or already successful project. We often see this with knockoff direct-to-DVD films that sometimes confuse buyers.

“Other times, a studio/filmmaker finds out about another studio’s/filmmaker’s project and wants to match them, so both are hurrying to get their film out first. This might be a case of both knowing the topic and films will be popular, or they might think it’s a good idea but only one can be a success, or it could be that they are counting on the success and critical acclaim of one to help the other. So in this case, it can sometimes be a zero-sum game and other times they expect a coattail effect or that in general one positive will lead to a second positive.

Sometimes a big film will come out and be a hit, so a smaller studio will hurry up and rush through creating their own film to cash in on it — this happens with a lot of direct-to-DVD films, for example.”

Read the rest of his explanation here.

Box Office
'Dante's Peak': $178 million
'Volcano': $122.8 million

Fox got a little excited with its over-the-top posters for 'Volcano.' The Fox film did nowhere near as well as Pierce Brosnan's volcano epic in the states; however, the Los Angeles centered movie picked up overseas.

(Universal / Fox)

Box Office
'Armageddon': $553.7 million
'Deep Impact': $349.5 million

Bruce Willis saves the world from an asteroid in the first film, while Robert Duvall tries to stop a massive comet from colliding with the planet.

(Buena Vista / Paramount)

Box Office
'Antz': $171.8 million
'A Bug's Life': $363.4 million

Even animated distributors can't avoid releasing similar films. Disney and Pixar's bug film went up against Slyester Stallone's ant crew and took him down.

(DreamWorks Animation / Disney, Pixar)

Box Office
'Mission to Mars': $111 million
'Red Planet': $33.5 million

Even the marketing for both films looked indistinguishable. However, Val Kilmer's film tanked compared to the Mars film with Gary Sinise and Tim Robbins.

(Buena Vista /Warner Bros.)

Box Office
'Phone Booth': $97.8 million
'Liberty Stands Still': $595,000*

Colin Farrell locked himself in a phonebooth for the duration of the first film while being held at gunpoint. In the latter, Linda Florentino locks herself to a hot dog vendor's cart filled with explosives for the movie. Both must stay on phones or they'll die.

*The film was released in the US on DVD.

(Fox/Lionsgate)

Box Office
'Finding Nemo': $921.7 million
'Shark Tale': $367.3 million

'Nemo' made more than double the DreamWorks Animation picture closing in on $1 billion worldwide.

(Disney, Pixar/DreamWorks Animation)

Box Office
'Chasing Liberty': $12.3 million
'First Daughter': $10.6 million

Neither film starring Mandy Moore or Katie Holmes did well at theatres.

(Warner Bros./Fox)

Box Office
'The Cave': $33.3 million
'The Descent': $57 million

Both horror films follow caving expeditions which go horribly wrong. They each debuted in August of 2005 and 2006.

(Sony, Screen Gems/Lionsgate)

Box Office
'The Wild': $102.3 million
'Madagascar': $532.7 million

The addition of the loveable, misguided penguins helped soar 'Madagascar' to more than five times the earning of Disney's film which debuted nearly a year later.

Now in its third instalment , the 'Madagascar' franchise has earned a combined $1.9 billion worldwide.

(Disney/DreamWorks Animation)

Box Office
'Capote': $49.2 million
'Infamous': $2.6 million (only released in 179 theatres)

Both films explore Capote's life while researching book 'In Cold Blood' and his ensuing relationship with Perry Smith.

(Sony Classics/Warner Independent)

Box Office
'The Prestige': $109.7 million
'The Illusionist': $87.9 million

Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman's film about the competition between two magicians narrowly edged out Edward Norton's about using magic solely for love at theatres.

(Warner Bros./Yari Film Group)

Box Office
'World Trade centre': $163 million
'United 93': $76.3 million

'Flight 93' was a similar TV film to 'United 93' that also aired the same year.

(Paramount/Universal)

Box Office
'The Black Dahlia': $49.3 million
'Hollywoodland': $16.8 million

Josh Hartnett's film about the murder of Elizabeth Short did better in theatres than Ben Affleck's on the death of 'Superman' actor George Reeves.

(Universal/Focus Features)

Box Office
'Happy Feet': $384.3 million
'Surf's Up': $149 million

'Happy Feet' did well enough in theatres to warrant a sequel in 2011.

(Warner Bros./Sony, Columbia Pictures)

Box Office
'Paul Blart: Mall Cop': $183.3 million
'Observe and Report': $27 million

Kevin James' take on security cop fared much better than Seth Rogen's try at theatres.

(Sony, Columbia Pictures/Warner Bros.)

Box Office
'2012': $769.7 million
'Knowing': $183.6 million

In '2012', we see the Earth crumble before our eyes alongside Jackson Curtis (John Cusack). 'Knowing' sees John Koestler (Nicolas Cage) trying to prevent the end of the world from happening.

(Sony, Columbia Pictures/Summit Entertainment)

Box Office
'The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3': $150.2 million
'Unstoppable': $167.8 million

The only thing better than the two posters looking alike is that Denzel Washington stars in both films.

(Sony, Columbia Pictures/Fox)

Box Office
'The Fighter': $129.2 million
'Warrior': $23 million

Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg starred in David O. Russell's film about boxer Micky Ward in December 2010. Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton played brothers less than a year later who sign up for a mixed martial arts tournament.

(Paramount/Lionsgate)

Box Office
'Friends with Benefits': $149.5 million
'No Strings Attached': $147.8 million

'No Strings Attached' was originally going to be called 'Friends With Benefits' after its original working title 'F--- Buddies' wasn't ever going to get cleared by the Motion Picture Association of America. However, Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis' film already had that title.

(Sony, Screen Gems/Paramount)

Box Office
'Snow White and the Huntsman': $396.6 million
'Mirror, Mirror': $166.2 million

'Snow White and the Huntsman' had the star power of Kristen Stewart coming off of the 'Twilight' films, giving her film the advantage with the younger demographic. 'Mirror, Mirror' depended too heavily on marketing the familiar face of Julia Roberts and not its younger stars Lily Collins and Armie Hammer.

(Universal/Relativity)

Box Office:
'A Hijacking': $60,180

Foreign language film 'A Hijacking' debuted last year showing a Danish cargo ship being hijacked. 'Captain Phillips,' out later this year, has the star power of Tom Hanks. This time an American ship will be overrun by Somali pirates.

(Sony, Columbia Pictures/Magnolia)

Now see different movies that have very similar plots.

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