Sibling Rivalry: Same
Idea, Different Screen
Over the years, a number of movies and
tv series have been produced almost simultaneously that have a very
similar premise (though the execution will naturally be distinct enough
not to infringe on intellectual property).
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop
Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) vs. Fail-Safe (1964) - Oops!
Buck Rogers (1979) vs. Flash Gordon (1980) -
Big screen adaptation of a classic serial sci-fi hero. World's
supply of lycra is depleted by the costume department.
American Werewolf in London
vs. The Howling
(1981) - Werewolves,
Caveman (1981) vs. Quest for Fire (1981) - Early humans grunt
their way through a script (nearly) devoid of English dialog and
discover fire along the way.
(1985) - Back to 'Nam to kick ass and
take names off the wall memorial.
My Science Project (1985) vs. Real Genius (1985) vs. Weird Science
(1985) - High school guys are unrealistically amazing in
Eagle (1986) vs. Top Gun (1986) - Fighter jets go
vrrrooooooooommmm! Shoot, shoot! Plot? Not really.
Near Dark (1987) vs. Lost Boys (1987) -
A teenage boy falls in with a bad bunch of leather-clad vampires while
his much younger sibling remains a human in constant peril until the
older brother is restored to humanity.
Father, Like Son (1987) vs. Big (1988) vs. Vice Versa (1988) - Alternate
the lead (except in Big
he simply becomes an adult without swapping with anyone else).
The Abyss (1989) vs. DeepStar Six (1989) - Forget going to
space, dive to the bottom of the ocean to have alien encounters!
& Hooch (1989) vs. K-9 (1989) - Cop with a dog for a
partner. Hilarity ensues.
The story of the (re-)discovery of America exactly 500 years earlier.
Three of Hearts (1993) vs. Threesome
(1994) - Love triangle co-starring a Baldwin brother and one of
the girls from Twin Peaks.
Girls and a Guy (1997) (No Baldwins
Graham was in Twin Peaks too:
(1997) vs. Dante's Peak (1997) - Volcano, lava, and a female
of ambiguous/undetermined sexual orientation.
(1998) vs. A Bug's Life (1998) - CGI talking insects.
- Meteors! Ensemble cast!
Private Ryan (1998) vs. The Thin Red Line (1998) - Moral
ambiguity in WWII. Existentialism ensues.
(1998) vs. The Matrix (1999) - An everyman finds that his
reality is not what it seems. An army of shadowy figures in dark
suits are manipulating things behind the scenes toward a mysterious
Haunting (1999) vs. The House on Haunted Hill (1999) - Remake of
a classic haunted house movie in which a group of strangers spend the night
in some spooky real estate. (See The
Haunting (1963) and The House
on Haunted Hill (1959).)
to Mars (2000) vs. Red Planet (2000) - Attacking Mars.
Liberty (2004) vs. First Daughter (2004) - The President's
teenager causes problems for the Secret Service by running off and
falling in love. Mediocrity ensues.
Descent (2005) vs. The Cave (2005) - Spelunking chicks vs.
(2005) vs. Infamous (2006) - Behind the scenes of the
Truman Capote's In Cold Blood.
Prestige (2006) vs. The Illusionist (2006) - Late
19th-century magician engages in off-stage deceptions. (Distinguishing characteristic: One of these is
doesn't fool anyone. The other stars Batman and Wolverine and
fools nearly everyone.)
Strings Attached (2011) vs. Friends with Benefits (2011) - Fuck
buddies are the new "my-gay-best-friend" movie.
(2012) vs. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012) - An account
of the remarkable achievments of the 16th president of the United
Mirror (2012) vs. Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) - A gritty
retelling of Snow
White. Not that this is an original idea.
(See also Snow White: A Tale of
(2012) vs. Hotel Transylvania (2012) -
Big-budget CGI monster movie for kids released just in time for
End of the World (2013) vs. This Is
the End (2013) - The end of the world is hilarious if you
get the top comedy actors of the day.
White House Down (2013) vs.
Olympus Has Fallen (2013) - Oh, no! Some John McClaine has to
save the White House from terrorists!
Hercules: The Thracian Wars (2014) vs.
Hercules: The Legend Begins (2014) - Muscles. Testosterone ensues.
The Munsters (1964) vs. The Addams
Family (1964) - That odd
family in the big, scary house down the street keeps scaring the
Bewitched (1964) vs. I Dream of Jeannie (1965) - A sexy
with magical powers makes life "interesting" for her husband.
the Barbarian (1980) and Blackstar (1981) - Barbarian hero of
the future and his magical sidekicks take on evil forces in this
strange new world. (It's interesting to observe that the Conan the Barbarian film followed a
year later (1982), as well as Beastmaster
(1982), then He-Man and
the Masters of the Universe (1983) on tv the next year.)
GoBots (1984) -
Vehicles change into battling armies of extra-terrestrial robots.
Adventures of the
Galaxy Rangers (1986) vs. Bravestarr (1987) - Cowboys in
The 13th: The Series (1987) vs. Freddy's Nightmares (1988) - Successful
Peaks (1990) vs. Northern Exposure (1990) -
Small towns are filled with weird people and weird happenings.
(See also Picket
vs. Chicago Hope (1994) - Boring, overly dour hospital drama set
Ghost Whisperer (2005)
vs. Medium (2005) - Psychic formerly-cinematic hottie takes a pay
cut to do supernatural problem-solving for tv.
Surface (2005) vs. Invasion (2005) vs. Threshold (2005) - There's
with nothing resolved.
Eureka (2006) vs. Fringe (2008)
vs. Warehouse 13 (2009) - A government-directed
secret organization channels supernatural or higher-science artifacts
and phenomena for their benefit.
Time (2011) vs. Grim (2011) - Fairy tales updated for prime
Do you have any others in mind that I might
have forgotten? If so, email