10 Copycat Movies – Which Was Better?

Published 2 years ago by , Updated March 23rd, 2013 at 3:17 pm, This is a list post.

Which Was Better? 10 Copycat Movies

White House Down vs Olympus Has FallenAntoine Fuqua's new film Olympus Has Fallen stars Gerard Butler as a Secret Service agent trying to single-handedly defeat a gang of terrorists who have taken over the White House. A few months later, Roland Emmerich's White House Down hits theaters. In it, Channing Tatum stars as a Secret Service agent trying to single-handedly defeat a gang of terrorist who have taken over the White House.If you have a feeling of Deja Vu, don't worry. It's only because you read virtually the same paragraph twice. You may be asking yourself, "Why would studios develop two movies with virtually identical plots and then have them come out within mere months of each other?"It's really not all that uncommon - in fact, you can probably think of a few right off the top of your head. To celebrate this interesting Hollywood phenomena, we've chosen 10 of our favorite copycat movies for a good old-fashioned face-off.

Deep Impact vs. Armageddon

Deep Impact vs. Armageddon movies

Deep Impact - May 8, 1998

Armageddon - July 1, 1998

The spring and summer of 1998 was a bad time to live on planet Earth. Not one, but two giant meteors were threatening to wipe out all of life as we know it!  Fortunately, both Deep Impact and Armageddon focused on one team's efforts to protect the planet from meteors.Neither film fared all that well with critics - Deep Impact has a middling 47% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, while Armageddon earned an unimpressive 39%. However, both movies were pretty successful financially, with Deep Impact earning about $350 million and Armageddon raking in a whopping $550 million.So who wins? While Deep Impact is probably the more scientifically accurate movie, Armageddon was a bigger hit and has had more of a cultural impact (plus Bruce Willis), so we're calling this one for Armageddon.Winner = Armageddon.

Antz vs. A Bug's Life

Antz vs. A Bugs LifeAntz - October 2, 1998A Bug's Life - November 25, 1998Many copycat movies are a product of pure coincidence - two studios just happen to be working on similar stories. However, that's not the case with the animated films Antz and A Bug's Life. The similarity of the two films - which each tell the story of an ant bucking the expectations of his colony to choose his own path - led to a well-documented falling out between Dreamworks' Jeffrey Katzenberg and Pixar's John Lasseter - with the latter accusing the former of idea theft (Katzenberg had left Disney a few years prior).Despite the acrimony between Dreamworks and Disney, both films actually fared well with both critics and audiences. A Bug's Life was the bigger box office success, earning over $360 million to Antz' $170 million. However, Antz earned a slightly higher Rotten Tomatoes score (95% vs. A Bug's Life's 92%).While they tell similar stories, Antz and A Bug's Life are light years apart when it comes to tone. Personally, I like the sharper, satirical humor of Antz to the more kid-friendly A Bug's Life. However, if we're going based on critical and financial success, the winner has to be Pixar.Winner = A Bug's Life.

Dante's Peak vs. Volcano

Dante's Peak vs VolcanoDante's Peak - February 7, 1997Volcano - April 25, 1997Movies about natural disasters are always popular territory for filmmakers, so it was no surprise when two different studios developed big-budget movies about volcanoes. Dante's Peak, starring Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton, tells the story of a volcano going off in a small Washington mountain town. Volcano, starring Anne Heche and Tommy Lee Jones, focuses on an underground volcano erupting in Los Angeles following an earthquake.While both movies were passable entertainment, Dante's Peak did better business at the box office, earning $178 million against a $116 million budget. Volcano cost less ($90 million) but also had a lower gross ($122 million). Critically speaking, Dante's Peak was a flop, earning a 29% fresh rating while Volcano was marginally better, earning a 44% rating.As much fun as it is to watch Tommy Lee Jones doing his grumpy man-in-charge routine, Dante's Peak takes the edge for being a bigger box office hit and for being a fun (albeit mindless) popcorn flick.Winner = Dante's Peak.

The Prestige vs. The Illusionist

The Prestige vs The IllusionistThe Illusionist  - August 18, 2006The Prestige - October 20, 2006;The Prestige and The Illusionist are both period dramas about magicians with two-word titles that start with "the." Besides that though, they actually don't share much in common. The former film focuses on the bitter rivalry between two magicians, while the latter film focuses on a forbidden romance and the resulting political intrigue it causes.Both movies were very well-received at the box office. The Prestige, which was directed by Christopher Nolan, managed to make nearly $110 million on a budget of only $40 million. The Illusionist was even more successful relative to its size, earning $87 million against a $17 million budget. Critically, The Prestige earned a 76% fresh rating, while The Illusionist earned a nearly comparable 74% fresh rating.In this case, picking a winner is pretty subjective. Both movies did well financially and critically, so it comes down to simple preference, which is why The Prestige is our winner. The way the movie unfolds like a magic trick, keeping you guessing the whole time, is a perfect example of the kind of complex and crafty narratives that Christopher Nolan does best.Winner = The Prestige.

Tornado! vs. Twister

Twister vs. TornadoTornado! - May 7, 1996Twister - May 17, 1996As we discussed with Dante's Peak and Volcano, natural disasters are always a ripe subject for filmmakers, which is why these types of movies are often developed simultaneously. Sometimes though, it's obvious when one movie is cashing in on another. Such is the case with Tornado! and Twister. The former film, which is actually a Made-For-TV movie starring Bruce Campbell, came out a scant 10 days before Jan De Bont's blockbuster, perhaps as an attempt to cash in on the storm chaser craze.Given that it was a TV movie, however, there's really no way it could compete on any level with Twister. The Helen Hunt-Bill Paxton film was a huge hit with audiences, earning nearly $500 million worldwide, and was a moderate hit with critics, almost earning a fresh rating with a 58% score. Tornado! on the other hand is well...a Hallmark movie. Needless to say, Twister is the winner.Winner = Twister.

Why Copycats Are Here to Stay

White House Down Versus Olympus Has FallenThere's really no mystery to why similar movies get made. The bottom line is that movie studios are in the business of making money and the best way they can do that is to buy great scripts. Typically, great scripts start with a great concept. Both Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down just happen to have the same killer concept - "Die Hard in the White House." When they go to determine the release dates for the film, the studios will jockey for the best position to win over audiences, hoping that their movie will win out.There are plenty of other copycat movies out there, so feel free to keep the debate going in the comments. In the meantime, let us know what you think of our winners and losers, and tell us what White House movie you're more excited to see.
TAGS: olympus has fallen, White House Down


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  1. Mission to Mars

    Red Planet

    Ghosts of Mars

    I liked Antz, but I like Bug’s life too.
    But shouldn’t Bug’s life be noted for being a Seven Samurai remake? Or a Magnificent Seven remake, which was, again, Seven Samurai?

  2. Armageddon v Deep Impact – Deep Impact even though Liv Tyler is in the other and when she tears up hearts break.
    Antz v Bug’s – Winner who the *!@$ cares?
    Dante’s v Volcano – Dante’s because, volcano are you kidding? oh yeah and Linda Hamilton.
    Prestige v Illusionist – Prestige why, i dunno. Maybe because I hate Ed Norton with passion.
    Twister v whatever the heck – Twister Obviously as it’s good and Helen Hunt enough said.

    • and I thought I was the only one who hated Ed Norton. Except when he’s the bad guy and gets screwed over at the end. The endings of The Italian Job and especially The Heist with Robert DeNiro where he got punked big time.

  3. Wolfen (1981)
    The Howling (1981)
    American Werewolf In London (1981)

  4. Antz and A Bug’s Life were not exactly copycats like most of the other movies. Antz was just that, about ants, where as bug’s life was pretty much a mix. But all in all I can understand how you would say that they are copycats.

  5. No strings attached & friends with benefits

    • And then they took the dumb guys out of the picture and put Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman in Black Swan and bingo every guy (including myself) liked it!!!!!

  6. You forgot about WyatvRarp vs Tombstone!

  7. Well, they forgot snow white and that huntsman and mirror mirror.

  8. Anyone else remember in late 80s when the studios kept going back to the well using the Freaky Friday formula?
    -Like Father, Like Son (1987)
    -Vice Versa (1988)
    -18 Again (1988)
    -Big (1988)

    And just to recap, plus a few more:
    -Tombstone (1993)/Wyatt Earp (1994)
    -The Truman Show (1998)/EdTV (1999)
    -Prefontaine (1997)/Without Limits (1998)
    -Saving Private Ryan (1998)/Thin Red Line (1999)
    -2000: Mission to Mars/Red Planet
    -2004: Chasing Liberty/First Daughter
    -Madagascar (2005)/The Wild (2006)
    -2009: Observe and Report/Paul Blart: Mall Cop
    -Skyline (2010)/Battle: Los Angeles (2011)
    -2011: No Strings Attached/Friends with Benefits
    -2012: Snow White and the Huntsman/Mirror Mirror

  9. don’t forget:

    The Gridiron Gang (2006 – The Rock)
    The Longest Yard (2005 – Adam Sandler)

    and as others have already mentioned, the 2 Steve Prefontaine movies and Truman Show/EdTV (different plotlines/similar premise) each bizarrely came out at the same time. same with Observe and Report and Paul Blart: Mall Cop. pointless.

    • I think you mean the longest yard and mean machine the same story just different sports. Gridiron gang based on a true story

  10. Epic and arthur and the invisibles .

  11. I know this article is a few months old, but I had to mention a pair that nobody has mentioned yet:

    Skyline vs Battle L.A.

    The brothers Strause directed one and did the VFX for the other.

  12. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was wondering what all is needed to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog
    like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very internet savvy so I’m not 100% certain.
    Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. Cheers

  13. What? No Abyss and Leviathan? Rob Roy and Braveheart?

  14. I’d like to say that neither in “White House Down” or “Olympus Has Fallen” was the main character a secret service agent. Other than the fact that Terrorists are attacking the white house and the main character has to stop them there is no relation whatsover. !!!WARNING SPOILERS FROM HERE ON!!! In “White House Down” The main character who is a U.S. Capitol Officer on Protection detail to the Speaker of the House, must rescue the P.O.T.U.S from a group of terrorists who are attacking for Financial gain. Only in the end is it revealed that the Speaker of the House paid them so that he might rise to being the president. In Olympus Has Fallen the Main Character is a former Secret Service Agent now U.S. Treasury worker,and the terrorists are South Korean Guerrillas who are trying to make the president withdraw american troops from the DMZ. The White House and surrounding areas is attacked by a C130-J killing most foot soldiers around the White House and many civilians. A group of highly trained Terrorists then storms the White House while the Main Character Shoots them from behind advancing into The White House where he must find the presidents son and get him out so that the president won’t break under the pressure of the torture of his son to give up Nuclear missile self destruct codes. Afterwards he must Rescue the president.

    • Itsnot a c130 j… its most like a kc 130 spectre based on a c130 h frame. Either way its not a spanking new j

  15. On the first page of this article it should read ‘phenomenon’ since ‘phenomena’ is the plural of ‘phenomenon’ and you are only talking about one phenomenon.

  16. I thought Olympus has fallen is the best until I saw white house down which is by far the best. even though they have similar storyline, adding young hero in white house down gives it a new twist and the plot of the movie keeps you guessing and anticipating right to the end.

    • No… it’s not! You’re wrong. Yes, I’m telling you that your opinion is wrong because the reasons why OHF is much better than WHD are factual and not opinionated. You must be young because people who are smart enough to know better all said OHF was better in every way. No offense but you’ll understand and change your mind when you’re older and watch it again. OHF has better and more believable writing and acting without the corny and unfunny lines that WHD bombed with. I could go on forever but you’re wrong. No one credible reviewer gave WHD a better review than OHF for a reason. Yes, neither movie are credible acting flicks but WHD has quickly become known as one of the worst movies ever so I laugh when I read somebody try to say it was somehow better. Was your favorite Godfather movie part 3? Did you like Rocky 5 the best? That’s the kind of crappy taste it would take to think that White House Down was better than Olympus Has Fallen.

  17. paul blart mall cop vs observe and report, two copycats movies in this list.

  18. I will say this adding a younger hero does not add a new twist and also the whole plot was done before these two films even came out it’s call splinter cell conviction. But over all I will say that Olympus has fallen was better not because of the actors but because of the realism in it. In White House down he calls a javelin an RPG , which are not the same, and it doesn’t even shoot like a javelin which shoots upwards and then straight down on its target. If they can’t even get their facts straight on the simplest of stuff it shouldn’t even be made. Also I like how Olympus has fallen doesn’t stall no bad guy out there is going to take hostages and not shoot one right off the bat bad guys are not going to stall for long periods of time to think about what they’re doing. The only reason White House down did better is cause it had newer actors in it for all those small minded people out their who only like a movie because of the actors a movie is suppose to be about the story it’s like I always say an actor does not make the movie.

  19. If you’re of a mature mind or don’t have the IQ of a simpleton then choose Olympus Has Fallen over White House Down. They’re not even in the same league. Unless you’re in the mood to just laugh at something so bad that tries to be serious but fails completely with terrible and over the top acting, cheesy dialog that you’ll see in any current Steven Seagal B movie or a less believable scrip then by all means. Watch White House Down, the movie where even Jamie Foxx’s credibility for what he did in Ray was completely diminished. Like where his agents are killed and he had such a casual reaction, not surprise, stunned or shocked… but also not upset or scared. Or when Channing Tatum is kicking a guy after he was knocked out saying, “yeah, take that” or something similar to that level like he’s a street thug instead of a trained agent/officer. You never saw Gerard Butler do anything nearly that cheesy in Olympus Has Fallen. OHF was far better and it’s based off factual evidence, not an opinion. Watch the movie and you’ll see and agree yourself. You’re welcome!

  20. You forgot Pacific Rim and Battleship.

  21. I LOVE White House Down!!! I love Channing Tatum & I love that there was no cursing or F-bombs (if there was, it was very little) & I loved that as serious as it was, there was still a little humor every now & then. I loved the girl that played his daughter too! She was AWESOME!!! I do Love Gerard Butler & Aaron Eckhart, and I lovd Morgan Frerman too! But there were so many F-bombs & so many things that were “really out there” . I liked them both, but my favorite was White House Down! Jaimie Foxx was Awesome too!