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Top 10 Copycat Movies

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Have you ever been watching a movie and had a major case of deja vu because the premise seems just like a movie that was released a few months before? Because of the release of "Olympus Has Fallen" in March 2013 and "White House Down" in June of the same year, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 copycat movies. For this list, we’ve chosen movies that were released within a year of each other, and that had scarily similar plotlines. We’ve ranked them based on how alike they really are. And just so you know, there are a few spoilers ahead so SPOILER ALERT. Special thanks to our users cliffhanger and jackhammer for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page!
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Top 10 Copycat Movies


Haven’t we seen this before? Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 copycat movies.

For this list, we’ve chosen movies that were released within a year of each other, and that had scarily similar plotlines. We’ve ranked them based on how alike they really are. And just so you know, there are a few spoilers ahead so spoiler alert.

#10 – “Mirror Mirror” (March 30, 2012) and “Snow White and the Huntsman” (June 1, 2012)

Premise: Snow White’s fairytale gets a modern twist, as the pale princess battles the vain Evil Queen.

Obviously, this ain’t the first Snow White movie, but one per summer is enough. “Mirror Mirror” is the lighter and more traditional take, while “Huntsman” offers a gritty, action-packed retelling of the tale that seemed to resonate more with fans. However, both got iffy reviews, so neither’s considered the fairest of them all.

#9 – “The Illusionist” (August 18, 2006) and “The Prestige” (October 20, 2006)

Premise: A 19th century, European stage magician is locked in a life-or-death competition with a noble rival.

Ultimately, these flicks are pretty different, but they’re both lavish period pieces with stellar casts that received comparably favorable reviews and Oscar nods. But, a battle between Batman and Wolverine as scripted by director Christopher Nolan ultimately won at the box office – gee, we wonder why?

#8 – “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” (January 16, 2009) and “Observe and Report” (April 10, 2009)

Premise: A loser mall security guard falls for a ditzy mall employee and must prove his worth by stopping a crime in an epic mall showdown.

These movies are completely different. Except they’re both about mall cops. Is that not a weirdly specific shared premise for films released months apart? The Seth Rogen flick is decidedly darker than its family-friendly brother; however, even with awful reviews, Kevin James managed more box office dough.

#7 – “Mission to Mars” (March 10, 2000) and “Red Planet” (November 10, 2000)

Premise:In the not-so-distant future, a manned mission lands on Mars; but something goes terribly wrong and they must fight to get home.

Both were inspired by a NASA Mars mission; both are throwaway blockbusters with big-name talent; both earned terrible reviews and both get the science wrong. But only “Red Planet” was so bad its director never worked in Hollywood again. Consolation prize? Most people consider “Mission to Mars” unwatchable.

#6 – “Dante’s Peak” (February 7, 1997) and “Volcano” (April 25, 1997)

Premise: As a volcano erupts, the hero struggles to escape while saving as many people as possible.

These natural disaster flicks were both considered flops in monetary terms, but “Volcano” is by far the more Hollywood of the two, with grandiose effects and cheesy blockbuster-style dialogue. But c’mon: A-list stars being chased through the streets by ash and lava makes great Hollywood fare, scientific accuracy be damned.

#5 – “Gordy” (May 12, 1995) and “Babe” (August 4, 1995)

Premise: A plucky and talkative piglet’s parent is sent to the slaughterhouse, so the young’un makes friends to survive and eventually meets life’s challenges head-on.

This ain’t even subtle: two talking pig movies in the same summer? ‘90s kids were scared away from their pork chop dinners by both these flicks. But, only one took home an Oscar and spawned a sequel, while the other was almost universally panned.

#4 – “The Truman Show” (June 5, 1998) and “EdTV” (March 26, 1999)

Premise: An average Joe’s life is televised for the masses, 24-7.

Reality TV was in its infancy, and Hollywood capitalized on it with not one but TWO voyeurism-based flicks. In this case, there’s a far-and-away winner: the Jim Carrey vehicle is miles ahead of its counterpart, both in execution and premise, as it asks some serious existential questions. “EdTV” alone might have been a respectable film, but it pales in comparison.

#3 – “Deep Impact” (May 8, 1998) and “Armageddon” (July 1, 1998)

Premise: A world-threatening space object is on a collision course with Earth, so a team goes into space to blow it up with nukes.

There’s one crucial difference here: Bruce Willis’ ultimate sacrifice saves the world from “Armageddon,” while Robert Duvall’s team cannot prevent the “Deep Impact.” Considering Bruce and Ben raked in way more box-office millions, we guess audiences prefer a happier ending. And hotter stars. And cheesier dialogue.

#2 – “No Strings Attached” (January 21, 2011) and “Friends with Benefits” (July 22, 2011)

Premise: Two mega-attractive young professionals start a casual sex relationship and accidentally fall in love.

Things to be confused about: both female leads were in “Black Swan,” “No Strings Attached” is the name of an ‘NSync album but not the JT movie, and Mila and Ashton are a couple in real life but not on-screen. FYI, Justin and Mila did better at the box-office, with the slightly raunchier flick.

#1 – “Antz” (October 2, 1998) and “A Bug’s Life” (November 25, 1998)

Premise: In a colony where individualism is rejected, one nonconformist ant challenges the status quo.

This copycat case was no coincidence: long story short, Disney thought DreamWorks stole the idea, and a bitter dispute ensued. Whether or not that’s true, both computer-animated flicks feature star-studded casts; however one’s decidedly edgier. Ultimately, “A Bug’s Life” made more moolah, but “Antz” got slightly better reviews. So it’s a tie?

Do you agree with our list? Which copycat movies left you with deja vu? For more top 10s about your favorite flicks, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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