We’ve got twin movies from “The Truman Show” and “EdTV” to “Olympus Has Fallen” and “White House Down”
Guillermo del Toro recently unveiled new details for his passion project based on the “Pinocchio” fable, a dark take on the boy puppet for Netflix. At the same time, however, Disney is plotting its live-action remake of “Pinocchio,” meaning there could be two very similar movies on screen in the near future. Those two dueling projects wouldn’t be the first example of twin movies premiering within months or weeks of one another. Sometimes it’s because of studios racing to adapt a popular IP or moment in history, because of scripts that float all across town, or because of sheer coincidence. But we’ve had years with two mall cop movies, two movies about terrorist attacks on the White House and two movies about talking bugs and fish. Here are some other notable twin movies that opened at the same time.
“Zero Dark Thirty” vs. “SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden“National Geographic’s “SEAL Team Six” TV movie is a more traditional war movie released just a month before the Oscar-qualifying run for Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty,” which focused more heavily on the years-long manhunt for Osama Bin Laden through the efforts of Jessica Chastain’s relentless operative.
“Snow White and the Huntsman” vs. “Mirror Mirror”“Snow White and the Huntsman” was a dark, gritty, action/adventure take on “Snow White” starring Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Stewart and a menacing Charlize Theron, while “Mirror Mirror” was the more opulent, CGI-heavy fantasy with Lily Collins and Julia Roberts. Each opened within three months of the other in 2012. Both did strongly at the box office, but “Huntsman” made enough to spawn a sequel.
“Capote” vs. “Infamous”Philip Seymour Hoffman won an Oscar for his take on Truman Capote in “Capote,” but Toby Jones played the “In Cold Blood” author in a similar biopic released within 13 months of the other. Both are centered around the same period as Capote was researching “In Cold Blood.”
“The Girl” vs. “Hitchcock”Poor Toby Jones. After being overlooked in another high-profile biopic, Jones played Alfred Hitchcock in an HBO movie only to be outshined by Anthony Hopkins in a similar biopic on the director and his late-career relationships with his leading ladies. The movies opened within two months of each other in 2012.
“The Truman Show” vs. “EdTV”Though they were released nine months apart, “The Truman Show” completely stole the thunder of Ron Howard’s “EdTV,” which helped shape our understanding of reality television in the 2000s, while “The Truman Show” has more to say about the nature of our existence as much as it does the media. The Jim Carrey film made $264 million at the box office while “EdTV” managed just $35 million on an $80 million budget.
“The Loudest Voice” vs. “Bombshell”When Russell Crowe turned heads for his dramatic transformation into Roger Ailes for the Fox News-centered miniseries “The Loudest Voice,” we saw a much different take in “Bombshell,” which starred John Lithgow as Ailes but focused more heavily on the women at the center of the story, with Charlize Theron looking even more uncanny as Megyn Kelly.
“Paul Blart: Mall Cop” vs. “Observe and Report”Turns out there isn’t room for two mall cop movies. While neither film was admired by critics, Seth Rogen’s R-rated turn as a mall cop was completely overlooked by Kevin James as Paul Blart, which was released three months earlier and made $183 million (and spawned a sequel), compared to just $26.9 million for “Observe and Report.”
“Friends With Benefits” vs. “No Strings Attached”“Friends With Benefits” stars Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis as friends who mutually agree to fool around, but released six months earlier was “No Strings Attached” with Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman in the same rom-com set up. Both films even made $149 million at the worldwide box office.
“Olympus Has Fallen” vs. “White House Down”Both “Olympus Has Fallen” and “White House Down,” released within three months of each other, were box office hits about secret service agents fighting alongside the president after an attack on the White House. And while the two movies each brought in a healthy total at the box office, “Olympus” did so on half the budget and spawned two sequels for Gerard Butler.
“A Bug’s Life” vs. “Antz”The bad blood between “A Bug’s Life” and “Antz” is a long, well reported history that involves Jeffrey Katzenberg leaving Disney to form DreamWorks, all while “A Bug’s Life” was in development at Pixar. There are a whole lot of rumors, denials and conflicting reports out there, but the simple fact is that when both movies were scheduled to come out during the holiday of 1998, DreamWorks raced to finish production on “Antz” and beat Disney to the punch. But Pixar, still riding high off “Toy Story,” won the box office.
“Finding Nemo” vs. “Shark Tale”After “Finding Nemo” became one of the highest grossing animated movies of all time and a gigantic critical darling, DreamWorks put out “Shark Tale” 18 months later, which featured Will Smith as a small guppy who claims to slay sharks and features Robert De Niro as an underwater mob boss. Also Martin Scorsese voices a puffer fish with big eyebrows.
“The Jungle Book” (2016) vs. “Mowgli”Talk of a live-action remake of Disney’s “Jungle Book” coincided closely with Andy Serkis’ own take on the classic Rudyard Kipling story, with both of them opting for a motion capture, digitally realistic take on the animal characters. But though “Mowgli” was originally meant for release in October 2016, Disney’s beat it out of the gate in March of that year, and Warner Bros. delayed Serkis’ version to work on the visuals before eventually moving it to Netflix for a December 2018 release. In the end, Jon Favreau’s vision won over critics with its visual achievement.
“The Illusionist” vs. “The Prestige”Both twisty stories about magicians set at the turn of the century, “The Illusionist” with Edward Norton beat “The Prestige” to theaters and performed similarly both at the box office ($39 million and $53 million respectively) and with critics (68 and 66 on Metacritic), but Christopher Nolan’s film has stood the test of time and is now considered one of the director’s best films.
“Rob Roy” vs. “Braveheart”“Braveheart” won the Oscar and is quoted to death for its inspiring story of a Scottish folk hero, but released just six weeks later in its shadow was “Rob Roy” starring Liam Neeson, and it hardly made a dent at the box office, earning just $31 million. Though it does have a badass sword fight.
“Tombstone” vs. “Wyatt Earp”Released in December 1993 and June 1994, these two Westerns about Wyatt Earp and the buildup to the shootout at the O.K. Corral were both similarly responding to Clint Eastwood’s “Unforgiven.” “Tombstone” proved to be the bigger (and shorter) crowdpleaser and raked in $56 million at the box office compared to just $25 million for the far more expensive “Wyatt Earp.”
“Armageddon” vs. “Deep Impact”Released within two months of each other in the summer of 1998, “Armageddon” and “Deep Impact” are both movies about gigantic asteroids that threaten to wipe out all existence on Earth, but while Mimi Leder’s film found more human qualities to the story, Michael Bay’s “Armageddon” obliterated the box office that year, bringing in $553 million.
“Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened” vs. “Fyre Fraud”Four days before Netflix released its documentary on the disastrous Fyre Fest called “Fyre,” Hulu surprise dropped its own called “Fyre Fraud,” which was meant to be a series but was condensed and boasted an interview with Fyre Fest founder Billy McFarland that the Netflix one didn’t. The two docs however sparked a war of words between filmmakers, with “Fyre” director accusing the “Fyre Fraud” filmmakers of paying McFarland $250,000, while they fired back and said the Netflix doc partnered with the Fyre Fest social media promoters Jerry Media.
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