Why Are Identical Movies Released at the Same Time?

January 17, 2019

Hulu just released their documentary on Fyre Fest days before Netflix was set to drop theirs. Which has us wondering: why are there so many movies with similar plots released around the same time? Twin films have been happening since the beginning of Hollywood and Cheddar Explains why this copycat film phenomenon exists.

FULL TRANSCRIPT

Sylvie Borschel: We have two animated films

Sylvie Borschel: that follow the life of an aunt.

Sylvie Borschel: Two disaster films where the world's both

Sylvie Borschel: need saving from comments and asteroids.

Sylvie Borschel: Two White Houses in danger.

Sylvie Borschel: Friends with benefits, magicians,

Sylvie Borschel: Churchill, pigs, Capote, and the list goes on and on.

Sylvie Borschel: Do you ever wonder why some films seem to come in twos?

Sylvie Borschel: This phenomenon is called twin films.

Sylvie Borschel: It's when two films with similar plots from

Sylvie Borschel: two different production companies

Sylvie Borschel: are released around the same time.

Sylvie Borschel: And they've been happening since

Sylvie Borschel: the beginning of Hollywood.

Sylvie Borschel: From Gone with the Wind and Jezebel both about

Sylvie Borschel: Southern women in the mid 1800's

Sylvie Borschel: vying for men they couldn't have,

Sylvie Borschel: to Oscar Wilde and

Sylvie Borschel: The Trials Of Oscar Wilde which were not only

Sylvie Borschel: both released in 1960

Sylvie Borschel: but both premiered in the last week in May.

Sylvie Borschel: Then there was Harlow

Sylvie Borschel: and the other film also named Harlow,

Sylvie Borschel: which didn't even bother to come up with

Sylvie Borschel: different names for the films about actress Jean Harlow.

Sylvie Borschel: This was just the start to what would eventually become

Sylvie Borschel: an extremely common occurrence

Sylvie Borschel: throughout cinematic history.

Sylvie Borschel: As with most twin films,

Sylvie Borschel: one of them usually does really well at

Sylvie Borschel: the box office while the other one doesn't.

Sylvie Borschel: Take Top Gun and Iron Eagle for example.

Sylvie Borschel: Both were released in 1986 but Top Gun beat out

Sylvie Borschel: Iron Eagle by a landslide

Sylvie Borschel: despite Iron Eagle being released first.

Sylvie Borschel: In 2012, Mirror Mirror

Sylvie Borschel: couldn't compete with Snow White and The Huntsman.

Sylvie Borschel: With Taken and Stolen,

Sylvie Borschel: their similarities ended after having

Sylvie Borschel: the same plot and being released in the same year.

Sylvie Borschel: One of them tanked at the box office,

Sylvie Borschel: while the other one soared

Sylvie Borschel: and is still being quoted today.

Liam Neeson: But what I do have are very particular set of skills.

Sylvie Borschel: But if there's no guarantee of success,

Sylvie Borschel: then why do twin films happen?

Sylvie Borschel: Well, sometimes it's just plain coincidence.

Sylvie Borschel: Two scripts about the same thing just happen to

Sylvie Borschel: pop up on desks of

Sylvie Borschel: two different studios around the same time.

Sylvie Borschel: Take the 2015 film Marguerite

Sylvie Borschel: [MUSIC] which was based

Sylvie Borschel: on socialite Florence Foster Jenkins.

Sylvie Borschel: The director found out about

Sylvie Borschel: the competing film titled Florence Foster Jenkins

Sylvie Borschel: starring Meryl Streep one month before

Sylvie Borschel: he started filming and he knew his film was done.

Sylvie Borschel: The latter was widely

Sylvie Borschel: praised during the awards season that year.

Sylvie Borschel: But in other cases some films might be inspired

Sylvie Borschel: by the same event or tragedy around the same time.

Sylvie Borschel: After the passing of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in 2011,

Sylvie Borschel: two screenwriters began developing

Sylvie Borschel: films around his life and death.

Sylvie Borschel: Jobs, starring Ashton Kutcher was released

Sylvie Borschel: first in 2013 as a bit of a flop,

Sylvie Borschel: while the other film Steve Jobs,

Sylvie Borschel: took its time during the writing

Sylvie Borschel: and development stages and was

Sylvie Borschel: finally released in 2015 to great success.

Sylvie Borschel: And five years after the tragedy of 9/11,

Sylvie Borschel: 2006 saw the release of United 93,

Sylvie Borschel: Flight 93, and Nicholas Cage's World Trade Center.

Sylvie Borschel: All inspired by the events of

Sylvie Borschel: 9/11 and all released within months of each other.

Sylvie Borschel: Other times though, it's far from coincidence.

Sylvie Borschel: A studio might hear of

Sylvie Borschel: another studio having a great idea love it,

Sylvie Borschel: steal it, and try to make it better and faster.

Sylvie Borschel: While not everybody has come out and admitted

Sylvie Borschel: that because who is going to admit to plagiarism.

Sylvie Borschel: These films have enough evidence to support

Sylvie Borschel: the drama that supposedly

Sylvie Borschel: played out underneath the surface.

Sylvie Borschel: Antz versus a Bug's Life.

Sylvie Borschel: In 1988, Disney pitched a story about

Sylvie Borschel: army ants which would later become A Bug's Life.

Sylvie Borschel: [NOISE] But after a feud with Disney CEO,

Sylvie Borschel: Jeffrey Katzenberg left the company,

Sylvie Borschel: took the story and brought it to

Sylvie Borschel: Dreamworks and so Antz was born.

Sylvie Borschel: The speculation on the story being

Sylvie Borschel: stolen had gotten so big that

Sylvie Borschel: a Disney executive had called

Sylvie Borschel: Katzenberg himself to ask him if it was true,

Sylvie Borschel: and Katzenberg confirmed it.

Sylvie Borschel: There are even rumors that

Sylvie Borschel: Katzenberg bribed Disney to slow down

Sylvie Borschel: the production of A Bug's Life and if he

Sylvie Borschel: did they would halt the production of Antz.

Sylvie Borschel: Well, it looks like that didn't

Sylvie Borschel: exactly work out in his favor.

Sylvie Borschel: Mowgli versus The Jungle Book.

Sylvie Borschel: We recently saw the release of Mowgli,

Sylvie Borschel: the live action Jungle Book film on Netflix.

Sylvie Borschel: It felt all too familiar because in 2016,

Sylvie Borschel: we saw the release of

Sylvie Borschel: a different live action Jungle Book film

Sylvie Borschel: titled,well, The Jungle Book.

Sylvie Borschel: The Warner Brothers film

Sylvie Borschel: Mowgli had actually started production first in

Sylvie Borschel: 2012 and was scheduled to be released in October of 2016.

Sylvie Borschel: And shortly afterwards,

Sylvie Borschel: Walt Disney Pictures happened to also announce that they

Sylvie Borschel: were making a live action

Sylvie Borschel: adaptation of the story but that

Sylvie Borschel: they would be releasing the film in April of 2016,

Sylvie Borschel: conveniently before Mowgli was set to be released.

Sylvie Borschel: Mowgli ended up pushing

Sylvie Borschel: their release date to October 2018,

Sylvie Borschel: claiming it was due to special effects problems.

Sylvie Borschel: But it's a good thing they did because the Jungle Book

Sylvie Borschel: went on to make almost one

Sylvie Borschel: billion dollars at the box office.

Sylvie Borschel: But it's not always so

Sylvie Borschel: competitive in the world of twin films.

Sylvie Borschel: In 2009, there were

Sylvie Borschel: two comedy mall cop films to hit the theaters,

Sylvie Borschel: Observe and Report and Paul Blart Mall Cop.

Sylvie Borschel: Seth Rogen actually even said in an interview to

Sylvie Borschel: GQ that he knew about

Sylvie Borschel: the filming of Paul Blart the whole time.

Sylvie Borschel: That the two films would actually

Sylvie Borschel: consult each other on productions so that they

Sylvie Borschel: didn't step on each other's toes.Twin films are happening

Sylvie Borschel: all around us and they're not

Sylvie Borschel: exactly stopping anytime soon.

Sylvie Borschel: Most recently we saw the release of

Sylvie Borschel: a fire fest documentary on Hulu just

Sylvie Borschel: days before Netflix was set to release their own.

Sylvie Borschel: So, what are your favorite twin films?

Sylvie Borschel: [MUSIC]