You probably know that Hollywood has the habit of making two similar films in a year. But did you know that there is an actual term for it? That’s right, “Twin Films” is even a Wikipedia entry.
These movies have virtually identical plots and are usually released within months of each other. With so many scripts being shopped around Hollywood on a constant basis, you would think that there would be more original ideas and these “Twin Films” wouldn’t happen as often.
It’s clear, though, that when it comes to “Twin Films” there is always one film that comes out on top and usually by a large margin.! If you don’t believe me, just check out the box office earnings for these films that came out the same year and told the same damn story!
THE EQUALIZER | JOHN WICK — 2014
Sony / Lionsgate
The Equalizer Box Office: $101,530,738
John Wick Box Office: $43,037,835
The films have completely different types of leading men: Denzel Washington and Keanu Reeves. But at their heart, these films have identical plots. Both movies focus on men trying to leave their dark, pasts behind, but (of course) tragic events draw them back into the life. (Okay so not the most original plot lines.) The Equalizer made a bit more money but surprising John Wick has slowly gained a huge following and both films have spawned an extremely popular franchises
OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN | WHITE HOUSE DOWN — 2013
FilmDistrict / Sony
Olympus Has Fallen Box Office: $98,925,640
White House Down Box Office: $73,103,784
When you watch the trailers for these two films it’s almost impossible to tell them apart. Disgraced men save the President while kicking some bad guy ass. The only difference is the actors they put in each film. Channing Tatum in White House Down and Gerard Butler in Olympus Has Fallen. Or is it the other way around? Who knows! Both films performed fairly well, but Olympus Has Fallen clearly got the edge, making slightly more money and a sequel.
NO STRINGS ATTACHED | FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS — 2011
Paramount / Sony
No Strings Attached Box Office: $70,662,220
Friends With Benefits Box Office: $55,802,754
Both movies are about a man and a woman who get sick of relationships and decide to get into a “friends with benefits” relationship and keep things strictly sexual. Obviously in typical Hollywood romance style, it doesn’t work out and they end up falling for each other in each film. Aside from the location, the jobs, and a few lines here and there, they are the exact same movie. Seriously. You could replace Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis with Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman and nobody would know the difference. Probably not even the directors.
MEGAMIND | DESPICABLE ME — 2010
Paramount / Universal
Megamind Box Office: $148,415,853
Despicable Me Box Office: $251,513,985
There are some fundamental differences between these two films but they’re both about one simple thing: a bad guy becoming a good guy. The only big difference is how each villain turns themselves around and what their motivation is. Though both films made a good amount of money, it’s Despicable Me that has spawned an insane amount of sequels and spin-offs and given the world the popular and adorable minions!
THE PRESTIGE | THE ILLUSIONIST — 2006
Buena Vista / Yari Film Group
The Prestige Box Office: $53,089,891
The Illusionist Box Office: $39,868,642
The two films both follow the lives of late Nineteenth Century magicians. The Christian Bale fronted film not only made more money but is undoubtedly the one people look back upon fondly whereas no one really remembers The Illusionist exists. While the plots differed a bit, it turns out audiences could only deal with one magical film that year.
ARMAGEDDON | DEEP IMPACT — 1998
Twin Films Movies With Basically The Same Plot Released In The Same Year government
Armageddon Box Office: $201,578,182
Deep Impact Box Office: $140,464,664
Both films tell the story of a doomed earth with a deadly asteroid heading straight for it. The big difference? Everyone remembers Armageddon, especially for Aerosmith’s hit song “I Don’t’ want To Miss A Thing.” There were minor differences but at their core, the two films were about the same exact thing. Clearly, fans responded to their fave telling of the story at the box office!
ANTZ | A BUG’S LIFE — 1998
DreamWorks / Buena Vista
Antz Box Office: $90,757,863
A Bug’s Life Box Office: $162,798,565
Both films follow the journey of an ant to save his colony from destruction from some villainous presence. There are some fundamental differences, though, between the two films. Antz is a Woody Allen film and gets a little intense for a kids film. A Bug’s Life, on the other hand, is a Disney-Pixar film with a bit of a lighter feel and bunch of different types of fun bugs. The fight that erupted between the two studios was epic which was documented in the book “The Men Who Would Be King”. The clear winner here was A Bug’s Life, which netted way more money and a Oscar nomination.
JEZEBEL | GONE WITH THE WIND — 1939 & 1939
Warner Bros./Loews Inc.
Jezebel Box Office: No box office data
Gone With The Wind Box Office: $198,676,459
This just goes to show that the “Twin Film” phenomenon is not a new invention. Gone With the Wind is, without a doubt, the highest grossing film of all time if you adjust for inflation. For the ‘30s it did insane numbers, numbers that are higher than many movies today.That movie and Jezebel both told stories about rebellious southern women during the Civil War era and were intentionally similar. After Bette Davis lost out for the main role on “Gone With the Wind,” producers created Jezebel just for her. Too bad for Davis, her film was completely overshadowed by the beloved Gone With the Wind and we’re going to be honest, we didn’t even know Jezebel existed because its twin is such a classic.
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