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25 Movies With Similar Plots Released the Same Year

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MovieGoods.com / ReleaseDonkey.com

Though Hollywood studios develop films separately, sometimes movies that are eerily similar will be released in the same calendar year. 

1. and 2. Deep Impact (released May 8, 1998) // Armageddon (released July 1, 1998)

During the summer of 1998, Dreamworks and Touchstone Pictures released two rival asteroid disaster movies: Deep Impact and Armageddon, respectively. One movie showed how families and modern civilization would be affected by an asteroid collision, while the other was a loud, action-packed thrill ride from director Michael Bay. Although astronomers called Deep Impact more scientifically accurate, Armageddon was selected to be in the prestigious Criterion Collection, which is reserved for (in their own words) "important classic and contemporary films."

3. and 4. Olympus Has Fallen (released March 22, 2013) // White House Down (released June 28, 2013)

In 2013, two different movie studios released two different films about terrorist groups invading and taking over the White House. Released in March 2013, Olympus Has Fallen featured Aaron Eckhart has the captured president with Gerard Butler as the Secret Service agent who re-captures the White House and saves him from certain doom. That year's other save-the-prez effort, White House Down, featured Jamie Foxx as the president with Channing Tatum in the role of a Secret Service hopeful tasked with keeping him safe. Although White House Down had a wider summer release, Olympus Has Fallen saw higher box office returns.

5. and 6. Dante’s Peak (released February 7, 1997) // Volcano (released April 25, 1997)

In 1997, Universal Pictures' volcano thriller Dante’s Peak raked in an impressive $178.1 million at the box office worldwide. A few months later, Twentieth Century Fox released Volcano which also featured—you guessed it—a volcano. That flick grossed $122.8 million internationally, proving that the country's thirst for seeing mountains go boom can't be satiated with just one movie.

7. and 8. Gordy (released: May 12, 1995) // Babe (released: August 4, 1995)

Believe it or not, in 1995 two talking-pig movies competed for family box office dollars. In May, Miramax released Gordy, which followed the adventures of a pig trying to find his family after they were taken away to be slaughtered. A few months later, Universal released Babe, which revolved around a sheep-herding pig. Babe blew Gordy out of the water: It earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture and Best Director, beat out Apollo 13 for the Best Visual Effects Oscar, and would eventually spawn a sequel, Babe: Pig in the City. The world is still waiting for a Gordy sequel. 

9. and 10. Saving Private Ryan (released: July 24, 1998) // The Thin Red Line (released: December 23, 1998)

For the 71st Academy Awards, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated two World War II films for Best Picture and Best Director. While Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan followed the invasion of Normandy on Omaha Beach and the war's Atlantic Theater, Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line focused on the Battle of Guadalcanal in the South Pacific. Neither took home the Best Picture Oscar—that went to Shakespeare in Love—but Spielberg wound up winning Best Director.

11. and 12. Chasing Liberty (released January 9, 2004) // First Daughter (released September 24, 2004)

In 2004, Warner Bros. released the Mandy Moore vehicle Chasing Liberty, which told the story of the President of the United States’ 18-year-old daughter and her misadventures overseas. Later in that election year, First Daughter opened in theaters with Katie Holmes in the lead role. Turns out two movies about the president's progeny were two too many: Both films flopped big at the box office.

13. and 14. Mission to Mars (released March 10, 2000) // Red Planet (released November 10, 2000)

Disney's 2000 release Mission to Mars was based off of a Tomorrowland ride that had closed in the early '90s. Still, Disney felt that a film adaptation could be profitable based on the success of the 1997 made-for-TV movie inspired by the Tower of Terror ride. They were somewhat redeemed, as Mission to Mars proved to be a moderate success. However, the other Martian movie from released that year, Red Planet, was an outright bomb. Its first-time director, Antony Hoffman, never directed a major motion picture again. Maybe he should pitch something around It's a Small World.

15. and 16. Mirror, Mirror (released March 30, 2012) // Snow White and the Huntsman (released June 1, 2012)

The iconic Snow White fairy tale saw two live-action movie adaptations in theaters back-to-back. The first, Mirror, Mirror, was from the visionary Indian director Tarsem Singh.The other was Snow White and the Huntsman, from first-time director Rupert Sanders, which took a dark and gritty approach to the Brothers Grimm fairy tale. The latter benefited from the cheating scandal between star Kristin Stewart and Sanders, which dominated the tabloids around the movie's release and spurred it to a $396.5 million worldwide box office return.

17. and 18. No Strings Attached (released January 21, 2011) // Friends with Benefits (released July 22, 2011)

Warning: This might get confusing. In 2011, Paramount Pictures and Screen Gems released two rival movies about casual sex. The first was released in January and was originally titled Friends with Benefits, but was then renamed No Strings Attached after director Ivan Reitman and screenwriter Elizabeth Meriwether learned a similar movie with the exact same title was going to be released later in the year. In July, that film was released and boasted a similar plot featuring two friends having casual sex and later falling in love. Appropriately, both films experienced similar box office returns.

Interestingly, NBC aired a new TV series called Friends with Benefits later in 2011 with a similar plot to the aforementioned movies. The single-camera comedy was unceremoniously canceled after five weeks.

Congratulations, now you never have to think about those movies and TV shows ever again.

19. and 20. The Illusionist (released: August 18, 2006) // The Prestige (released: October 20, 2006)

During the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, director Neil Burger premiered The Illusionist, about a 19th century social-climbing magician played by Edward Norton. Later that year, director Christopher Nolan released a separate movie about two competing 19th century magicians called The Prestige. The Illusionist and The Prestige were both nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography but were made to disappear by Pan's Labyrinth.

21 - 25. DeepStar Six (released January 13, 1989) // Leviathan (released March 17, 1989) // Lords of the Deep (released April 21, 1989) // The Evil Below (released July 1, 1989) // The Abyss (released August 9, 1989)

Throughout 1989, moviegoers were treated to five competing films about deep-sea crews stationed underwater that find something mysterious and monstrous in the depths. DeepStar Six, Leviathan, Lords of the Deep, The Evil Below, and The Abyss all married elements of science fiction and ocean horror, but only James Cameron’s The Abyss experienced both critical and monetary success.

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6 Eponyms Named After the Wrong Person
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Salmonella species growing on agar.

Having something named after you is the ultimate accomplishment for any inventor, mathematician, scientist, or researcher. Unfortunately, the credit for an invention or discovery does not always go to the correct person—senior colleagues sometimes snatch the glory, fakers pull the wool over people's eyes, or the fickle general public just latches onto the wrong name.

1. SALMONELLA (OR SMITHELLA?)

In 1885, while investigating common livestock diseases at the Bureau of Animal Industry in Washington, D.C., pathologist Theobald Smith first isolated the salmonella bacteria in pigs suffering from hog cholera. Smith’s research finally identified the bacteria responsible for one of the most common causes of food poisoning in humans. Unfortunately, Smith’s limelight-grabbing supervisor, Daniel E. Salmon, insisted on taking sole credit for the discovery. As a result, the bacteria was named after him. Don’t feel too sorry for Theobald Smith, though: He soon emerged from Salmon’s shadow, going on to make the important discovery that ticks could be a vector in the spread of disease, among other achievements.

2. AMERICA (OR COLUMBIANA?)

An etching of Amerigo Vespucci
Henry Guttmann/Getty Images

Florentine explorer Amerigo Vespucci (1451–1512) claimed to have made numerous voyages to the New World, the first in 1497, before Columbus. Textual evidence suggests Vespucci did take part in a number of expeditions across the Atlantic, but generally does not support the idea that he set eyes on the New World before Columbus. Nevertheless, Vespucci’s accounts of his voyages—which today read as far-fetched—were hugely popular and translated into many languages. As a result, when German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller was drawing his map of the Novus Mundi (or New World) in 1507 he marked it with the name "America" in Vespucci’s honor. He later regretted the choice, omitting the name from future maps, but it was too late, and the name stuck.

3. BLOOMERS (OR MILLERS?)

A black and white image of young women wearing bloomers
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Dress reform became a big issue in mid-19th century America, when women were restricted by long, heavy skirts that dragged in the mud and made any sort of physical activity difficult. Women’s rights activist Elizabeth Smith Miller was inspired by traditional Turkish dress to begin wearing loose trousers gathered at the ankle underneath a shorter skirt. Miller’s new outfit immediately caused a splash, with some decrying it as scandalous and others inspired to adopt the garb.

Amelia Jenks Bloomer was editor of the women’s temperance journal The Lily, and she took to copying Miller’s style of dress. She was so impressed with the new freedom it gave her that she began promoting the “reform dress” in her magazine, printing patterns so others might make their own. Bloomer sported the dress when she spoke at events and soon the press began to associate the outfit with her, dubbing it “Bloomer’s costume.” The name stuck.

4. GUILLOTINE (OR LOUISETTE?)

Execution machines had been known prior to the French Revolution, but they were refined after Paris physician and politician Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin suggested they might be a more humane form of execution than the usual methods (hanging, burning alive, etc.). The first guillotine was actually designed by Dr. Antoine Louis, Secretary of the Academy of Surgery, and was known as a louisette. The quick and efficient machine was quickly adopted as the main method of execution in revolutionary France, and as the bodies piled up the public began to refer to it as la guillotine, for the man who first suggested its use. Guillotin was very distressed at the association, and when he died in 1814 his family asked the French government to change the name of the hated machine. The government refused and so the family changed their name instead to escape the dreadful association.

5. BECHDEL TEST (OR WALLACE TEST?)

Alison Bechdel
Alison Bechdel
Steve Jennings/Getty Images

The Bechdel Test is a tool to highlight gender inequality in film, television, and fiction. The idea is that in order to pass the test, the movie, show, or book in question must include at least one scene in which two women have a conversation that isn’t about a man. The test was popularized by the cartoonist Alison Bechdel in 1985 in her comic strip “Dykes to Watch Out For,” and has since become known by her name. However, Bechdel asserts that the idea originated with her friend Lisa Wallace (and was also inspired by the writer Virginia Woolf), and she would prefer for it to be known as the Bechdel-Wallace test.

6. STIGLER’S LAW OF EPONYMY (OR MERTON’S LAW?)

Influential sociologist Robert K. Merton suggested the idea of the “Matthew Effect” in a 1968 paper noting that senior colleagues who are already famous tend to get the credit for their junior colleagues’ discoveries. (Merton named his phenomenon [PDF] after the parable of talents in the Gospel of Matthew, in which wise servants invest money their master has given them.)

Merton was a well-respected academic, and when he was due to retire in 1979, a book of essays celebrating his work was proposed. One person who contributed an essay was University of Chicago professor of statistics Stephen Stigler, who had corresponded with Merton about his ideas. Stigler decided to pen an essay that celebrated and proved Merton’s theory. As a result, he took Merton’s idea and created Stigler’s Law of Eponymy, which states that “No scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer”—the joke being that Stigler himself was taking Merton’s own theory and naming it after himself. To further prove the rule, the “new” law has been adopted by the academic community, and a number of papers and articles have since been written on "Stigler’s Law."

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Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET
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10 Badass Facts About Jason Statham
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Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET

Jason Statham is one of the preeminent action heroes of a generation—some would say he’s our last action hero. On the screen, he's been a hitman, a transporter, a con man, a veteran, and a whole host of other unsavory, but oddly endearing, tough guys. Before he stepped foot on his first movie set, though, Statham had a past life that would rival any of the colorful characters he’s brought to the screen. To celebrate his 50th birthday, we’re digging into what makes this English bruiser tick with these 10 fascinating facts about Jason Statham.

1. DIVING WAS HIS FIRST CALLING.

Before becoming a big-screen tough guy, Jason Statham exuded grace and fluidity as one of the world’s top competitive divers in the early 1990s. He spent 12 years as part of the British National Diving Squad, highlighted by competing in the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand.

Though he was an elite diver, Statham never qualified for the Olympics, which he admits is still a “sore point” for him. "I started too late," he has said of his diving career. "It probably wasn't my thing. I should have done a different sport."

2. HE DABBLED IN MODELING.

With his diving career over, Statham entered the world of modeling for the fashion company French Connection. If his rugged image doesn’t seem to naturally lend itself to the world of male modeling, that was exactly what the company was going for.

“We chose Jason because we wanted our model to look like a normal guy," Lilly Anderson, a spokesperson for French Connection, said in a 1995 interview with the Independent. "His look is just right for now—very masculine and not too male-modelly."

3. HE DANCED HALF-NAKED IN A COUPLE OF MUSIC VIDEOS.

A word of warning: The internet never forgets. Back in 2015, two ‘90s music videos went viral—“Comin’ On” by The Shamen and “Run to the Sun” by Erasure—and it’s not because the songs were just that good. It’s because both videos featured a half-naked, and quite oily, Jason Statham curiously dancing away in the background.

Both make liberal use of Statham’s lack of modesty, which is a far cry from the slick suits and commando gear we’d later see him sporting in The Transporter and Expendables series. So which one is your favorite? Leopard-print Speedo Statham from “Comin’ On” or his Silver Surfer look from “Run to the Sun”? And no, “both” isn’t an option. (Though “neither” is acceptable.)

4. GUY RITCHIE CAST HIM BECAUSE HE WAS SELLING KNOCKOFF JEWELRY AND PERFUME ON THE STREET.

After years of high dives, modeling, and pelvic gyrations, Statham was still looking to make a real living in the late ‘90s. His next odd job? Selling knockoff perfume and jewelry on London street corners. Luckily, that type of real-world hoodlum was exactly what director Guy Ritchie needed for 1998's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

Ritchie was introduced to Statham through his modeling gig at French Connection and saw the potential this real-world con man had for the movie. He wrote the role of Bacon specifically for Statham, which would end up being the movie that propelled him to Hollywood stardom.

5. JOHN CARPENTER WANTED HIM AS THE LEAD IN GHOSTS OF MARS.

Though Statham gained acclaim for his role in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, he wasn’t quite a leading man yet. Director John Carpenter wanted to change that by casting him as James “Desolation” Williams, the main character in Ghosts of Mars.

While Carpenter was convinced that Statham was ready for the role, the producers weren’t. They pushed the director to cast someone with more name value, eventually settling on Ice Cube. Statham stayed in the movie in a smaller role as Sgt. Jericho Butler.

6. HE REGULARLY DOES HIS OWN STUNTS.

Jason Statham in Wild Card (2015).
Lionsgate

In addition to being in impeccable shape, Statham also takes pride in doing many of his own stunts in his movies, from hand-to-hand combat to dangling from a helicopter 3000 feet above downtown Los Angeles. In fact, he’s almost dogmatic in his belief that actors should be doing their own stunts.

“I'm inspired by the people who could do their own work,” the actor said. “Bruce Lee never had stunt doubles and fight doubles, or Jackie Chan or Jet Li. I've been in action movies where there is a face replacement and I'm fighting with a double, and it's embarrassing.”

The worst offenders? Superhero movies. And Statham isn't shy about sharing his thoughts on those:

"You slip on a cape and you put on the tights and you become a superhero? They're not doing anything! They're just sitting in their trailer. It's absolutely, 100 percent created by stunt doubles and green screen. How can I get excited about that?"

7. FILMING EXPENDABLES 3 ALMOST KILLED HIM.

For all the authenticity that Statham likes to bring to the screen by doing his own stunts, sometimes things don’t go according to plan. While filming an action scene for Expendables 3, the brakes failed on a three-ton stunt truck Statham was driving, sending it off a cliff and into the Black Sea.

If you've ever wondered if the real Statham was anything like the movie version, his underwater escape from a mammoth truck should answer that.

"It's the closest I've ever been to drowning,” Statham said on Today. “I've done a lot of scuba diving; I've done a lot of free diving ... No matter how much of that you've done, it doesn't teach you to breathe underwater ... I came very close to drowning. It was a very harrowing experience."

8. HE PRACTICES A RANGE OF MARTIAL ARTS.

Statham’s fitness routine is about more than just weights and core work. The actor is also involved in a variety of different fighting disciplines like boxing, judo, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Out of everything he does to stay in shape, it’s the martial arts that have the been most helpful for Statham’s onscreen presence. “That’s what I have to give most of my time to these days: training for what I have to do in terms of providing action in an authentic manner," he told Men's Health

Statham is not alone in his passion for martial arts; director Guy Ritchie is also a black belt in jiu-jitsu and a brown belt in karate. When Men’s Health asked Statham if the two ever sparred, he responded, “I remember when we started out, we’d go on a press tour for Lock, Stock… and we’d be moving all the furniture out of the way in the hotel room, trying to choke each other out.”

After all, what are collaborators for?

9. HE’S WELL AWARE SOME OF HIS MOVIES HAVE BEEN DUDS.

When asked by Esquire if he ever watched one of his movies during the premiere and thought "Oh, no ...," his response was a very self-aware: "Yeah, I think I've said that more often than not. Yeah."

He went on to rattle off his Guy Ritchie movies, The Bank Job, Transporter 1 and 2 (not 3), and Crank as being among his favorite films. As for the others, the actor joked, “And the rest is sh*t."

He clarified that remark as a joke and said, “I mean, you do a lot of films. You're always aiming for something and trying to push yourself to do something good.”

He then compared his work to the inner workings of a watch, saying, “A movie, it's like a very complicated timepiece. There's a lot of wheels in a watch. And some of those wheels, if they don't turn right, then, you know, the watch ain't gonna tell the time."

10. HIS MOVIES HAVE MADE MORE THAN $1.5 BILLION IN THE U.S. ALONE.

Statham's films may have a tough time impressing critics, but audiences and studio executives can’t get enough. Taken as a whole, Statham’s filmography has raked in just a touch more than $1.5 billion in the United States, with the worldwide total standing at $5.1 billion.

A lot of this is due to his more recent entry into the Fast and Furious franchise, but he’s also had seven movies cross the $100 million mark worldwide outside of that series. This isn’t an accident; Statham knows exactly what type of movie keeps the lights on, as he explained in an interview with The Guardian.

“So if you've got a story about a depressed doctor whose estranged wife doesn't wanna be with him no more, and you put me in it, people aren't gonna put money on the table. Whereas if you go, 'All he does is get in the car, hit someone on the head, shoot someone in the f*cking feet,' then, yep, they'll give you $20 million. You can't fault these people for wanting to make money.”

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