As the saying goes, there’s only a half-dozen or so original ideas out there, and everything else is just a variation on them. Of course, every now and then Hollywood screenwriters also steal from one another, and you end up with two studios doing essentially the same movie at the same time. Remember the dueling killer meteorite movies from 1998 aka Michael Bay’s “Armageddon” and Mimi Leder’s “Deep Impact”? For some reason, 2010 is shaping up to have a record number of dueling, similarly-themed projects. Sure, it could all be one big coincidence, and maybe my aunt Selma is really the reincarnation of Cleopatra.
One is based on an action-adventure TV show that you probably saw and loved from the ’80s and the other is based on a comic book that you’ve probably never even heard of. They’re both basically the same film: a group of misfits led by a brilliant tactician who is cool under fire — Liam Neeson’s Hannibal vs. Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Clay. Both teams of renegades have been wrongly accused of a crime they didn’t commit and have to go underground to prove their innocence. But it’s not just about the guys and their guns: both have sexy, capable female eye candy — Jessica Biel’s Army officer vs. Zoe Saldana’s shady agent. They’re essentially action-comedies, with just as many yuk-yuks as things blowing up, and things are blowing up pretty regularly.
Predicted Box Office Winner: “The A-Team”, thanks to brand name and the nostalgia factor, plus the trailer just looks very cool.
Two villains, two movies, two sets of toy-ready minions, but one unifying purpose: rule the world! Of course, as the film progresses we’ll find out that both film’s evil geniuses are actually not all that bad of guys. They’re both CG animated movies and both stars well-known comedic names (Steve Carell in “Despicable Me” and Will Ferrell in “Megamind”). Bonus connection: Tina Fey voices the female love interest in “Megamind” and she just recently co-starred with “Despicable Me’s” Steve Carell in “Date Night”.
Predicted Box Office Winner: “Megamind”, on the strength of its cast (Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey, and Jonah Hill, compared to “Despicable Me’s” Steve Carell and, well, Steve Carell).
Call it the dueling “I met the man of my dreams but he turned out to be a super spy/killer” movies. “Knight and Day” and “Killers” are basically the same movie save for one major difference: they have completely different target audience demos by way of their leads — Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz are slightly older than Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl. Call it the “Punk’d” kids vs. the “Top Gun” fogies.
Predicted Box Office Winner: “Knight and Day”, cause people don’t go see “Ashton Kutcher movies”, but they do (still) go see “Tom Cruise movies”.
A slaying we will go, a slaying we will go, oh hidey ho a Greek God slaying we will go. That’s the premise of both “Clash of the Titans” and “Immortals” (formerly “War of the Gods”, a title that would have made this comparison even more awesome). Both are set in ancient Greece, and both offer up tough human hombres who must take the fight to those arrogant, destructive Gods. Louis Leterrier’s “Clash of the Titans” made it into theaters well before “Immortals”, which is expected sometime in 2011, despite the fact that both films were announced at about the same time. Mind you, not that the extra year between the two films will help “Immortals” escape the “‘Clash of the Titans’ clone” tag once it’s finally released.
Predicted Box Office Winner: “Clash of the Titans”, based on name recognition, while “Immortals” will be saddled with being a “‘Clash of the Titans’ clone” when it eventually opens.
A pair of mismatched cops — one a bumbling dork, the other actually competent — goes about business solving crimes in New York City while dealing with personal family issues. Hilarity ensues. Bruce Willis, known for his tough guy cop roles, plays the competent cop to wacky comedian Tracy Morgan’s doofus in “Cop Out”. Mark Wahlberg, known for his tough guy cop roles, plays the competent cop to wacky comedian Will Ferrell’s doofus in “The Other Guys”.
Predicted Box Office Winner: “The Other Guys”, because Kevin Smith isn’t directing it. Kevin Smith is like Joss Whedon — lots of people love him on the Internet, but the rest of the world only knows him as the fat guy who gut kicked off the plane.