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Hollywood has always been a world of recreation, repurposing, reimagining and refreshing. It seems like with every cycle of films, we come across a movie that seems so familiar in tone of story that we swear we’ve seen it before. Sometimes that is on purpose in the sense that we’re watching a re-telling of a classic story or even a reboot. Sometimes the familiar story is unintentional and Hollywood is simply following the vibe of what pop-culture is looking for. Regardless there have been countless films that seem similar even though they’ve been released years apart – yet there are those few unique movies that seem nearly identical and were released in the same year. Coincidence or collusion: you decide.
'Antz' / 'A Bug’s Life' (1998)
These two films both revolve around an ant that is on the outside looking in as he just doesn’t quite mesh with his ant colony. A Bug’s Life (Disney/Pixar) was loosely based on Aesop’s fable ‘The Ant and The Grasshopper’ and eventually went on to gross $300+ million whereas Antz (Dreamworks) turned out to be a critical and commercial failure.
'Antz': Woody Allen, Gene Hackman & Sylvester Stallone
'A Bug’s Life': John Lasseter, Kevin Spacey & Dave Foley
'The Illusionist' / 'The Prestige' (2006)
Both of these films are based on the confusing lives of a stage magician and the rivalry that was increasingly prevalent in the late 19th century. Both films were well-received and it’s too bad that they were released so close to each other, because they often overshadow each other.
The Illusionist: Edward Norton & Paul Giamatti
The Prestige: Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman & Scarlett Johannson
'No Strings Attached' / 'Friends With Benefits' (2011)
Romantic comedies always seem to share a similar plot-line, but these two in particular shine brightly as nearly identical. Both films follow a pair of friends who start a simple and casual relationship with all the perks and none of the baggage, but slowly the friends learn that they truly have fallen in love.
No Strings Attached: Natalie Portman & Ashton Kutcher
Friends With Benefits: Mila Kunis & Justin Timberlake
'Olympus Has Fallen' / 'White House Down' (2013)
Terrorist attack movies always seem to do well at the box office considering that America always wins in the end. These two movies, although released in the same year, were both successful despite mixed reviews. Both movies focus on an attack against the White House and how one man is able to sneak in and rescue the president before it’s too late.
Olympus Has Fallen: Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman & Gerard Butler
White House Down: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx & Maggie Gyllenhaal
'Deep Impact' / 'Armageddon' (1998)
As the Earth faces a threat that seems unimaginable, it’s up to a special collection of people to try to divert a massive asteroid from wiping out the planet as we know it.
Deep Impact: Elijah Wood, Tea Lioni & Morgan Freeman
Armageddon: Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck & Liv Tyler
'Tombstone' / 'Wyatt Earp' (1993/1994)
The story of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday is legendary, and these two movies attempted to show up what led up to the infamous gunfight at the O.K. Corrall. These films were the wild-west at their best.
Tombstone: Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer & Sam Elliott
Wyatt Earp: Dennis Quaid, Kevin Costner & Gene Hackman
'Dante’s Peak' / 'Volcano' (1997)
Big volcano erupts. Destroys everything. One older male attempts to rescue people. Not sure how else to describe the two, the only real difference is the location and the actors.
Dante’s Peak: Pierce Brosnan & Linda Hamilton
Volcano: Tommy Lee Jones & Anne Heche