Hollywood Comes In Twos

Hollywood studios have a mysterious tendency to release very similar movies together. And it’s not like film executives in two different locations say something general like, “Oh, we’ll release a musical movie this upcoming fiscal year!” or “They’re releasing a superhero movie! Let’s do that too!”

No, it’s more specific, like

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (2001)

Robin Hood (2001)

“Oh, let’s make a movie about folk hero Robin Hood!”

“Let’s make a movie about English vagabond Robin Hood!”

or…

Wyatt Earp (1994)

Tombstone (1994)

“Wait, I have an even better idea! Let’s make a movie about Western hero Wyatt Earp!”

“We haven’t done enough Westerns in recent decades. Let’s start a revival with the iconic shootout at OK Corrall!”

or…

Dante's Peak (1997)

Volcano (1997)

“Hey, it’s not too soon since Mount Saint Helens to do a volcano disaster film, is it?”

“Well, we did tornados a couple years ago, so should we do a volcano this year?”

or…

Antz (1998)

A Bug's Life (1998)

“Hey, you know what we’ve never done a movie about? Ants!”

“Well, we’ve anthropomorphized mammals, fish, reptiles, and other creatures before…should we do insects this time?”

or…

Armageddon (1998)

Deep Impact (1998)

“Volcanos are sooo last year. Why don’t we do asteroids this year? With Bruce Willis and an Aerosmith song?”

“What would happen if a black man were president?”

or…

Red Planet (2000)

Mission to Mars (2000)

“Well, we’ll reach Mars someday, so why don’t we scare people out of it?”

“Let’s make Mars the remote summer camp with a killer in hiding of the future!”

or…

The Wild (2006)

Madagascar (2005)

“Hey, let’s make a movie about a lion that escapes from the zoo in Central Park and makes its way to Africa with some plucky animal friends! Make sure to add a giraffe, my daughter loves giraffes.”

“Hey, let’s make a movie about a lion that escapes from the zoo in Central Park and makes its way to Africa with some plucky animal friends! Make sure to add a giraffe, my son loves giraffes.”

or…

Observe and Report (2009)

Paul Blart Mall Cop (2009)

“Who would ever want to watch a movie about a mall cop? Oh, Kevin James is in it? Oh I like him, he’s funny. Good, give it the green light.”

“Who would ever want to watch a movie about a mall cop? Oh, Seth Rogen is in it? Oh I like him, he’s funny. Good, give it the green light.”

I thought about this matter when I saw How To Train Your Dragon 3D the other day, and was reminded strongly of Avatar (stirring score, flying reptiles with wings, awesome cinematography), except with a compelling story and no James Cameron’s ego. I’ll talk on that some other time. Maybe.

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