If you blinked between late March and now, you may have missed theaters swapping out one Snow White film, the kid-friendly "Mirror Mirror," for "Snow White and the Huntsman," the action-packed retelling of the story. Snow White isn't the first topic to get cloned by unimaginative Hollywood execs. Here are five other identical movie match-ups that came out within months of one another, proving that the sequel is not the most unoriginal thing coming out of Tinseltown.
"Deep Impact" vs. "Armageddon"
As the new millennium approached, as well as rumors of Y2K, Hollywood became infatuated with the end of humanity, mainly by means of meteor. "Deep Impact," starring Morgan Freeman and a young Elijah Wood, came first in May of 1998, followed less than two months later by Michael Bay's bombastic space epic "Armageddon" (co-written by then unknown J.J. Abrams).
Winner: Question: Which one of these two movies do you remember? I can't hear you through your computer, but I'm pretty sure you said "Armageddon." Despite its well-documented flaws, it's easily the more memorable disaster film. It's ironic that a movie about a meteor crashing into the ocean made such a small splash.
"The Illusionist" vs. "The Prestige"
Audiences have always been told about movie magic, but in 2006, the phrase became literal. "The Illusionist," starring a goateed Edward Norton as a mysterious Viennese magician, became a surprising indie hit in early September. A month and a half later, Christopher Nolan's "The Prestige" tried to cash in on on-screen magic with a dark, moody tale about dueling magicians.
Winner: "The Prestige" didn't catch on well with audiences and critics at the time, but years later, Nolan's film evolved into the more successful and memorable movie. Plus, "The Prestige" stars David Bowie, and any movie with Ziggy Stardust is a cinematic classic.
"The Haunting" vs. "House on Haunted Hill"
Horror isn't a genre built on originality. Put an assortment of questionably intelligent people in an ominous location and use a murderous creature or psychopath to eliminate them from existence. Apparently, in 1999, that formula was too difficult as not one, but two remakes of famous horror films from the early '60s came out. First came "The Haunting," "Speed" director Jan de Bont's mindless remake of Robert Wise's revered horror classic. Three months later, "House on Haunted Hill" took its shot at tarnishing a top-notch Vincent Price film.
Winner: It's hard to say who the winner is, but considering critics ripped both films mercilessly, the loser is easy to determine: the audience. For what it's worth, "House on Haunted Hill" has a ghost Chris Kattan and Geoffrey Rush with a hilarious thin evil mustache.
"Antz" vs. "A Bug's Life"
Disney and Dreamworks are like two kids in a classroom cheating off one another's tests. Every time one company releases a big hit, the other attempts to cash-in with an eerily similar knock-off. Their resumes are filled with these duplicates ("Madagascar" and "The Wild," "How to Train Your Dragon" and the upcoming "Brave"), but no pairing is more glaringly obvious than "Antz" and "A Bug's Life," both released in the fall of 1998.
Winner: Based on box office, "A Bug's Life" wins in a landslide, grossing $70 million more than "Antz." Unlike the previous match-up, though, audiences win either way. Both insect-themed animated adventures are fun and feature some pretty impressive visuals.
"Shakespeare in Love" vs. "Elizabeth"
The 1999 Academy Awards were great ... if you were a movie about World War II or Elizabethan England. While 1998's "Saving Private Ryan" and "The Thin Red Line" are very similar, it's "Shakespeare in Love" and "Elizabeth" that deserve recognition for their plagiarism. Cate Blanchett's historical drama came first in early November, but a little over a month later, "Shakespeare in Love" roared into theaters and eventually up to the Oscar podium.
Winner: Both movies are good, but they also haven't exactly been treated kindly by time. "Shakespeare in Love," is mainly remembered for stealing Best Picture from "Saving Private Ryan," and "Elizabeth" was followed up with an unintentionally hilarious sequel in 2007. So let's go with "Shakespeare in Love." Winning Best Picture controversially is still winning Best Picture.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by OnMilwaukee.com Staff Writers
Published Nov. 27, 2015
Thanksgiving weekend is a big one. You'll be able to shop till you drop on Black Friday, sample a bunch of different beers at the Harley Davidson Museum and see the massive whale light up at the MPM. See these and more in this edition!
Published Nov. 26, 2015
If it's just not Christmas in your home without a fresh cut tree to wrap with lights and decorate with ornaments. Here's a list of places throughout Southeastern Wisconsin that can help you find the perfect tree.
Published Nov. 26, 2015
Today, as you watch that ribbed cylinder of canned cranberry sauce do its little dance in the serving dish or - if you're lucky enough - eat a delicious homemade cranberry dish, consider that the lovely little gem is an important Wisconsin crop. Here are some facts - informative, healthful and fun - from the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association.
Published Nov. 25, 2015
Hoping to score some deals over the holiday weekend? Us too! Here are just a few of things #WeWant to add to our shopping carts.
Published Nov. 23, 2015
Wondering when all the craziness starts for Black Friday? Here's your guide to the opening hours for the year's craziest day of capitalism. Form your battle plan and be safe out there.
Published Nov. 22, 2015
Andy Silverman co-founded 414 Day - a celebration of Milwaukee that happens on April 14. He also works as a counselor and therapist by day, helping Milwaukeeans in need. Total All-Star right here!
Published Nov. 21, 2015
Look out the window and you can see that it's time to bring the sled down from the rafters. OnMilwaukee.com is happy to provide you with a list of some of the best sledding hills in the county.
Published Nov. 20, 2015
Milwaukee's best late night secret doesn't appear to be much of a secret anymore, as Red Light Ramen - Chef Justin Carlisle's late night pop-up ramen shop - beat out past winners and local late night legends Oakland Gyros and Real Chili.
Published Nov. 20, 2015
This Saturday marks the 51st anniversary of the ill-fated Bob Dylan performance at the Oriental Theater. The concert has become legendary in the city's history - paraphrasing Dylan himself - not for what it was, but for what it wasn't.
Published Nov. 20, 2015
As Madison365 reports, for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants - and, in many cases, their children - living in the United States, the national debate of immigration reform will decide their futures.