They say there are no new ideas under the sun. Nowhere does that ring truer than in Hollywood.
Sometimes we get two movies with the same plot in the same summer (remember Deep Impact and Armageddon?). Other times, movies just blatantly steal from another movies and hope we won’t notice.
Is there a cooler, more fun superhero than Metal Man? The snarky, quick-witted defender of good in a metal super-powered suit is… no… no, that’s not right. Metal Man is just a cheap fraud!
Iron Man, however—that guy’s pretty cool.
With just $1-million, these filmmakers thought they could make something that so closely resembled Marvel’s biggest cash cow, folks would indulge. How could they not?
The ploy didn’t pan out for the seven small production companies behind Metal Man. Its rancid acting and horrendous special effects have rendered it nothing more than what it is: a thrifty con.
Snakes on a Train
The hype for Snakes on a Plane was bigger than the movie turned out to be. Its preposterous title perfectly encapsulates the film’s plot. And Samuel L. Jackson’s most cherished expletive became the movie’s most quotable line.
The Asylum, a company known for “mockbusters,” was put on alert.
Expecting Snakes on a Plane to be a flyaway hit, The Asylum threw together a knockoff version, slapped a similar enough title on it, and hoped to fool people into buying the wrong movie.
Snakes on a Train was released three days prior to the film it copied. Both were campy. Neither was any good.
Mac and Me
Steven Spielberg’s mawkish family/sci-fi/drama, E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial, is a beloved boy-befriends-alien motion picture experience. And it made a fortune.
Inevitably, another movie came along and tried to duplicate it. In 1988, Mac and Me was born. Things didn’t go as well.
Co-financed by McDonalds and Coca-Cola, the film features an alien on the run from a testing lab, alongside a wheelchair-bound boy he connects with on the way.
Boasting many McDonalds and Coke products throughout, the movie has been the subject of much ridicule since its release. For a good time, type “paul rudd mac and me” into YouTube.
Playmobil: The Movie
Who among us could have predicted the recent surge in Lego’s popularity? A whole store and a theme park weren’t enough. Lego had to go and get its own movie franchise. And they’re pretty good movies, to boot.
Feeling left out of all the fun, another toy brand has now tried to take advantage.
If you played with Playmobil figures when you were a kid and you thought, “They should make a movie with these things!” then congratulations — you were the only one.
That is, until ON Animation Studios paid a bunch of a money for some quality voice talent in the hopes that the Lego people wouldn’t be the only game in town.
When Michael Bay’s $150-million summer event movie premiered in 2007, its success was not a foregone conclusion. $700-million later, a Transformers franchise was born. And there’s no end in sight.
The Asylum knows a good thing when they hear about it.
Anticipating the film’s popularity, Transmorphers hit the DVD buckets just prior to Bay’s film going to the big screen. What did people think? One critic said that “even the most dedicated Bad Movie fans will have difficulty slogging through this one.”
But that didn’t stop The Asylum. Two years later, they released a prequel, Transmorphers: Fall of Man, to coincide with the first Transformers sequel.
Kimba the White Lion
If you don’t love The Lion King, you might want to see a doctor. Or maybe your eyes have been opened and you know that the movie was completely plagiarized.
No, we’re not talking about Hamlet. The Lion King actually copied a Japanese series from the 1960s.
The Disney classic looks like a carbon copy of Kimba the White Lion, right down to the villainous lion (called Claw), his menacing hyena henchmen, and the wise mandril.
What’s more, Kimba’s dead father appears in the clouds, a character dangles from a tree branch over a stampede, and Kimba fights Claw in the same way for his rock fortress home. Disney claimed ignorance.
300 is a comic book come to life on screen. It’s stylish, violent, and very muscle-y. Seeing that it did big money at the box office, many “swords and sandals” epics followed.
One of those was 2011’s Immortals. It did not live up to its name.
Before he was Superman, Henry Cavill was Theseus in this action-adventure about a mortal selected by Zeus to stop an evil king. No, not the same plot. But the same style, same warfare, same muscles. It’s even got a bronze filter!
So, who made this 300 doppelgänger hoping to repeat that film’s success? Well, the producers of 300, of course.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes
On Christmas day 2009, the world discovered Robert Downey Jr. as the titular detective in Sherlock Holmes. The hit movie spawned a sequel two years later.
Not to be outdone, The Asylum got in on the action. A month later, their heroes were fighting dinosaurs and giant octopuses!
Made on a $1-million budget, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes went straight to video. A tasteless attempt at a money grab, some critics appreciated it as parody.
Doyle, it should be noted, died in 1930 of a heart attack. Experts believe that had he survived it and lived another seventy years, this movie would have killed him.
In 1998, Jim Carrey showed us he was more than just a goofy rubber-faced comic with his turn in The Truman Show. The movie did well with audiences and was nominated for three Oscars.
A year later, another movie came along that seemed awfully familiar to audiences.
EDtv had been in production before The Truman Show was released. Matthew McConaughey stars as a man who volunteers to have his life filmed 24/7 for a TV show.
The marketing campaign was tasked with reminding you of Truman while also trying to distinguish itself from Truman. But neither strategy worked, and the film flopped.
Kiara the Brave
Brightspark is a U.K.-based production company whose forte is capitalizing on the success of bigger movies.
In 2012, Disney Pixar released Brave, their redheaded Scottish princess warrior hit. Knowing Brave was on the way, Brightspark pounced with their own barely-disguised knock-off version.
Braver was an older film re-titled and re-packaged to look like Brave. Disney responded with a cease and desist. But Braver wasn’t alone in its schemes. An Indian film from 2011 altered its marketing to do just the same.
Kiara the Brave features a redheaded princess in a green dress front and center. Neither film’s plot has anything to do with Brave’s, but their crafty marketing tactics were clear.
Iron Man wasn’t alone. His Avenger partner also fell victim to the cash grab scheme. The perpetrator? Who else? The Asylum!
In 2011, the Marvel Cinematic Universe expanded when the god of thunder was cast out of Asgard. Only in another realm could the knockoff version have any power.
True to form, Almighty Thor featured actors you’ve never heard of and special effects that would have been cheap by 1991’s standards.
Syfy premiered the film a day after Marvel released theirs. If you were fooled by this one, there’s no sense in ever making that known. Some secrets are okay to die with.
Chop Kick Panda AND The Little Panda Fighter
DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda was such a success, it got the ripoff treatment twice! With Jack Black and several other household names lending their voices, the movie became the studio’s biggest opening for a non-sequel.
That got other companies thinking. And reproducing.
In Brazil, Heavy’s Little Bear was re-titled to The Little Panda Fighter. Its packaging was meant to confuse consumers into purchasing this film instead.
More egregiously, Chop Kick Panda went to video in 2011—three years after Kung Fu Panda. The title, the cover art, the plot—all stolen from DreamWorks’s hit. How dare they!
Legendary director James Cameron would never pass off someone else’s idea as his own, right? Well, about that…
The Terminator, Cameron’s classic sci-fi/action/horror flick, has been accused of plagiarism. Two different times. By the same acclaimed author. As it turns out, Cameron traveled pretty far back in time for “inspiration,” much like the titular cyborg from his first hit film.
Harlan Ellison is an iconic science fiction writer. Two of his episodes for The Outer Limits are stories that very closely resemble The Terminator.
In one of the episodes, called “Soldier,” two warring foot soldiers from the future are transported back in time to 1964. The hero sacrifices himself to save a family that the transported villain attacks. Ellison accused Cameron of ripping him off. A settlement was reached between the two.
Guillermo del Toro is among the most innovative filmmakers we’ve ever seen. In 2013, he made the big budget sci-fi actioner, Pacific Rim. With a budget approaching $200-million, the movie about doubled that in worldwide gross.
So someone took advantage. Or, tried to.
The Asylum was back at it again, this time with Atlantic Rim. Because if you can’t beat ‘em, rip ‘em off. With only $500,000 to spend, the filmmakers did their best to make something as similar as they could to del Toro’s hit movie.
They didn’t, and very few were tricked into thinking this movie was that movie. Maybe next time, guys.
Before Spielberg’s Jaws, the notion of a summer blockbuster didn’t exist. Since 1975, the biggest movies of the year hit the multiplexes in the hottest months.
Two years after that great white terrorized Cape Cod, another marine predator hoped to take a bite out of our wallets.
Sharks are sometimes hunted by killer whales (orcas)—even white sharks. So naturally, director Michael Anderson and Paramount and everyone else figured they’d repeat Spielberg’s triumph with a better, smarter monster.
Not quite. Richard Harris subbing for Robert Shaw in this less suspenseful Jaws copycat only amounted to about $14-million worth at the box office.
Battle of Los Angeles
Alien invasion movies are not easy to reproduce without a lot of money. At least not these days on a grand scale. 2011’s Battle: Los Angeles is one of those $100-million aliens-attack-a-city blockbuster.
It made more than $200-million in return. So why not duplicate it?
That’s what the fine folks over at The Asylum thought. With virtually the same basic plot, this mockbuster premiered on Syfy only days after the big one hit theaters.
What did people think of it? Same thing they always do about these sorts of movies. It’s so bad it’s good.
Tangled was a winsome and funny new take on the Rapunzel fairy tale. With something for everyone, the movie’s box office return approached the $600-million mark.
Brightspark noticed, just as everyone else did, and got creative. No, not creative. Deceptive.
With a spin on the title and some familiar cover art, they distributed Tangled Up. Surely people were duped by this one. If you’re not paying attention, you might think you’re buying the Mandy Moore-voiced musical charmer.
But if Tangled Up went into your cart, you were had. It looks nothing like Tangled, nor would the two be confused for one another, save for the misleading cover.
Film noir is something of a lost genre. The dark crime dramas saw their heyday in the 1940s and 1950s. One of the best is Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity.
In it, an insurance salesman is roped into offing a seductress’s husband. Lawrence Kasdan made a very similar movie in 1981.
In Body Heat, William Hurt steps in for Fred MacMurray. Kathleen Turner takes over for Barbara Stanwyck. The plot is virtually identical.
Despite its striking similarities, Body Heat is not an official remake of Double Indemnity—only “inspired” by it, they said. But it didn’t seem to bother anyone. The 1981 take was highly acclaimed.
The Da Vinci Treasure
At the height the Dan Brown craze, when Tom Hanks and his longer, straighter hair was gracing the big screen, another movie was lurking nearby.
Not in theaters of course. No, The Da Vinci Treasure was only available on DVD.
Ron Howard’s The Da Vinci Code was a big enough hit to spawn a couple of sequels. The Asylum’s mockbuster companion had no such luck.
Even with the likes of former stars C. Thomas Howell and Lance Henriksen, The Da Vinci Treasure couldn’t swindle the masses. Despite a title and plot close enough to the Howard film, this one was soon forgotten.
The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games franchise was adapted from a massively popular 2008 book series. So, that must be where the movies get their basis. Not according to lovers of Japanese cinema.
The claim? The Hunger Games stole its plot from Battle Royale. They may have a point.
Based on a 1999 novel, the critically acclaimed Battle Royale follows a group of high school students sent by the government to an island where they must fight to the death. In this “game” set in a dystopian future, only one will be left alive.
Yup, that’s what The Hunger Games is. And yet, Jennifer Lawrence’s four films were global sensations.
The Thief and the Cobbler
We’re not sure what to make of The Thief and the Cobbler. In some stage of production over the course of three decades, the film was finally finished (sort of) and released in 1993.
A year earlier, Aladdin graced the multiplexes. The similarities are obvious. But which came first?
Many who have seen Cobbler argue that it ripped off Aladdin. The characters, the plot, and the design of the films are very close.
However, Cobbler was a known project long before Aladdin went into production. People at Disney were certainly aware of it as it bounced around studios for thirty years. We may never know who stole from whom.
Hansel & Gretel
The Grimm brothers’ dark tale of a brother-sister duo kidnapped by a witch got the cinematic treatment twice in 2013. The first one was a $50-million project that starred Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton.
That movie grossed $225-million worldwide. The other one sure didn’t.
Five days after Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters was released, it was The Asylum’s turn. Their version, Hansel & Gretel, went direct-to-DVD. It starred Dee Wallace (the mom from E.T.!) as a witch.
On a minuscule budget, Wallace found the shoot to be a miserable experience. Viewers unfortunate enough to have found the DVD had an equally agonizing time.
Disney Pixar’s Ratatouille was fun for the whole family. The 2007 film won Best Animated Feature at the Oscars and even made BBC’s list of the one-hundred greatest films of the 21st century.
One movie not on that list? Ratatoing.
What the heck is Ratatoing? An animated Brazilian film from 2007 about a rat chef who owns and operates the best restaurant in town.
This thing is an animation abomination. It looks and sounds nothing like the movie it’s trying to take advantage of, and worst of all, it’s meant for kids. Exposure to bad art is among the leading causes of delinquency in children.
Sunday School Musical
Mock it if you dare, but there may be no Zac Efron today if not for High School Musical. Thrice playing singing/dancing hunk Troy Bolton, Efron captured the hearts of teenage girls from sea to shining sea.
What about Sunday School Musical? How’d that do?
Not so good! Sold as a Christian take on High School Musical, the two films have little in common. But the title and the packaging sure look alike.
This one comes from the faith-based wing of The Asylum. According to those who saw it, the film was an unholy mess. For ripoff artists, nothing is sacred.
1990 was a long time ago. So it’s safe to call Home Alone a Christmas classic. It may not be safe to call it original.
Macaulay Culkin bedeviling a pair of inept criminals on Christmas Eve while alone in his house had been seen before.
In 1989, a French film called Game Over (or, 3615 code Père Noël) featured a young boy at home with his disabled grandfather on Christmas Eve. The home is attacked by a demented man claiming to be Santa. The adept boy sets booby traps in defense of his home.
Though it’s not a comedy, that film’s director threatened legal action against Home Alone’s producers.
Loyal fans of Michael Crichton’s book were none too pleased when they learned Jurassic Park would be a major motion picture. Then most everyone loved it. Loyal fans of Spielberg’s film were none too pleased to hear it would be rebooted. Then it made $1.6-billion.
The Asylum saw a pattern forming.
Jurassic World is the sixth highest grossing movie ever made. Triassic World’s CGI would have looked pretty decent in the Triassic period.
Released ahead of 2018’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (the sequel), the movie hoped to capitalize off a mega-franchise. Eat your hearts out, bad movie aficionados!
Everyone’s favorite pseudo-Christmas monster movie, Gremlins, was fun for the whole family. Made for only $11-million, the film topped $153-million at the box office and led to mountains of merchandise.
One can never have too much of a good thing.
Two years later, in 1986, Critters hit the big screen. Starring Dee Wallace (the mom from E.T.!), Critters featured furry, grotesque puppets running amok in a small town.
The obvious attempt to ride the coattails of Gremlins didn’t go too well for New Line Cinema. They made their money back, but Critters would soon fall into obscurity.
The Day the Earth Stopped
Scott Derrickson’s 2008 The Day the Earth Stood Still often finds its way onto lists of the worst remakes ever produced.
In spite of its better performance internationally, it played poorly in the U.S. Apparently expecting a stronger turnout, The Asylum got to work.
They threw together The Day the Earth Stopped. Released on video four days prior, their version starred ‘80s throwbacks C. Thomas Howell and Judd Nelson. And like the similarly titled Keanu Reeves film, this one used the same source material.
As a result, 20th Century Fox threatened to bring legal action against The Asylum. They never did.
Nine years after he was violated by Gus Van Sant’s shot-for-shot remake of Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock again had to see one of his classics made a second time.
Technically he’d been dead for twenty-seven years, but everyone else took offense on his behalf.
Disturbia was never actually called a remake. Had it been, it wouldn’t be on this list. It’s nothing but a modern retelling of Rear Window. Shia LaBeouf plays a teenager under house arrest who spies on his next door neighbor, believing him to be a killer.
LaBeouf was no James Stewart. And Disturbia, positive reviews notwithstanding, was no Rear Window.
In 2005, Kurt Russell starred in Sky High, a movie about a high school for kids with superpowers. Russell plays a superhero whose son tries to live a normal life, despite having powers himself.
Then, in 2006, another movie with the same premise went to theaters.
Zoom starred Tim Allen in a role similar to Russell’s. This action-adventure-family-comedy also had a high school for kids with superpowers!
While Sky High saw some financial return (it made $86-million), Zoom was a super flop. Both had budgets of $35-million, and Zoom only made a fraction of that back.
The 30 Most Filthy Rich Actors and Actresses, Ranked
Most of us, at one point or another, have longed for greater fortunes. A bigger house, a nicer car. Or, at the very least, enough to pay the bills. Hollywood is chock full of loaded stars.
Not all of them have made the bulk of their dough performing in front of the camera. And some have opted to spend their earnings on some most peculiar things.
Let’s count down the richest living actors and actresses. We bet you’ll be shocked at how much some of them are worth.
The 30 Worst Performances From Typically Great Actors
There’s nothing like discovering a new favorite actor. A talented thespian who delivers consistently excellent performances. Until… they boink up. And they all boink up.
Here are the worst performances from 30 otherwise incredible actors. You know what? Everyone makes mistakes!
Classic Movies That Were A Nightmare to Make
Classic movies are a blast to watch, but many of them weren’t so fun to make.
Some of the most famous movies of all time were grueling experiences for the cast and crew. Read on to see which of your favorite movies were a total nightmare behind-the-scenes.