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25 Movies With Similar Plots Released the Same Year

MovieGoods.com / ReleaseDonkey.com
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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Every New Movie, TV Series, and Special Coming to Netflix in May
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Netflix

Netflix is making way for loads of laughs in its library in May, with a handful of original comedy specials (Steve Martin, Martin Short, Carol Burnett, Tig Notaro, and John Mulvaney will all be there), plus the long-awaited return of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Here’s every new movie, TV series, and special making its way to Netflix in May.

MAY 1

27: Gone Too Soon

A Life of Its Own: The Truth About Medical Marijuana

Amelie

Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures: Season 1

Beautiful Girls

Darc

God's Own Country

Hachi: A Dog's Tale

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

High School Musical 3: Senior Year

John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous Live at Radio City

Mr. Woodcock

My Perfect Romance

Pocoyo & Cars

Pocoyo & The Space Circus

Queens of Comedy: Season 1

Reasonable Doubt

Red Dragon

Scream 2

Shrek

Simon: Season 1

Sliding Doors

Sometimes

The Bourne Ultimatum

The Carter Effect

The Clapper

The Reaping

The Strange Name Movie

Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V: Season 2

MAY 2

Jailbreak

MAY 4

A Little Help with Carol Burnett

Anon

Busted!: Season 1

Dear White People: Volume 2

End Game

Forgive Us Our Debts

Kong: King of the Apes: Season 2

Manhunt

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman: Tina Fey

No Estoy Loca

The Rain: Season 1

MAY 5

Faces Places

MAY 6

The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale

MAY 8

Desolation

Hari Kondabolu: Warn Your Relatives

MAY 9

Dirty Girl

MAY 11

Bill Nye Saves the World: Season 3

Evil Genius: the True Story of America's Most Diabolical Bank Heist

Spirit Riding Free: Season 5

The Kissing Booth

The Who Was? Show: Season 1

MAY 13

Ali Wong: Hard Knock Wife

MAY 14

The Phantom of the Opera

MAY 15

Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce: Season 4

Grand Designs: Seasons 13 - 14

Only God Forgives

The Game 365: Seasons 15 - 16

MAY 16

89

Mamma Mia!

The 40-Year-Old Virgin

The Kingdom

Wanted

MAY 18

Cargo

Catching Feelings

Inspector Gadget: Season 4

MAY 19

Bridge to Terabithia

Disney’s Scandal: Season 7

Small Town Crime

MAY 20

Some Kind of Beautiful

MAY 21

Señora Acero: Season 4

MAY 22

Mob Psycho 100: Season 1

Shooter: Season 2

Terrace House: Opening New Doors: Part 2

Tig Notaro Happy To Be Here

MAY 23

Explained

MAY 24

Fauda: Season 2

Survivors Guide to Prison

MAY 25

Ibiza

Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life

The Toys That Made Us: Season 2

Trollhunters: Part 3

MAY 26

Sara's Notebook

MAY 27

The Break with Michelle Wolf

MAY 29

Disney·Pixar's Coco

MAY 30

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season 4

MAY 31

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman: Howard Stern

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20 Best Docuseries You Can Stream Right Now
A scene from Wild Wild Country (2018)
A scene from Wild Wild Country (2018)
Netflix

If your main interests are true crime and cooking, you’re in the middle of a Renaissance Age. The Michelangelos of nonfiction are consistently bringing stellar storytelling to twisty tales of murder and mayhem as well as luxurious shots of food prepared by the most creative culinary minds.

But these aren’t the only genres that documentary series are tackling. There’s a host of history, arts, travel, and more at your streaming fingertips. When you want to take a break from puzzling out who’s been wrongfully imprisoned, that is.

Here are the 20 best docuseries to watch right now, so start streaming.

1. WILD WILD COUNTRY (2018)

What happens when an Indian guru with thousands of American followers sets up shop near a small town in Oregon with the intent to create a commune? Incredibly sourced, this documentary that touches on every major civic issue—from religious liberty to voting rights—should be your new obsession. When you choose a side, be prepared to switch. Multiple times.

Where to watch it: Netflix

2. FLINT TOWN (2018)

If your heart is broken by what’s going on in Flint, Michigan, be prepared to have that pain magnified and complicated. The filmmakers behind this provocative series were embedded with police in Flint to offer us a glimpse at the area’s local struggles and national attention from November 2015 through early 2017.

Where to watch it: Netflix

3. MAKERS: WOMEN WHO MAKE AMERICA (2013)

Narrated by Meryl Streep, this three-part series covers a half-century of American experience from the earliest days of second-wave feminism through Clarence Thomas’s Supreme Court nomination in the 1990s. Ellen DeGeneres, Condoleezza Rice, Sally Ride, Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, and more are featured, and the series got six more episodes in a second season.

Where to watch it: Makers.com

4. THE JINX (2015)

After the massive success of Serial in 2014, a one-two punch of true crime docuseries landed the following year. One was the immensely captivating study of power, The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, which chronicled the bizarre, tangled web of the real estate mogul who was suspected of several murders. The show, which could be measured in jaw-drops per hour, both registered real life and uniquely affected it.

Where to watch it: HBO

5. MAKING A MURDERER (2015)

The second major true crime phenom of 2015 was 10 years in the making. Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos uncovered the unthinkable story of Steven Avery, a man wrongfully convicted of sexual assault who was later convicted of murdering a different woman, Teresa Halbach. Not just a magnifying glass on the justice system and a potential small town conspiracy, it’s also a display of how stories can successfully get our blood boiling.

Where to watch it: Netflix

6. WORMWOOD (2017)

Speaking of good conspiracies: documentary titan Errol Morris turns his keen eye to a CIA project that’s as famous as it is unknown—MKUltra. A Cold War-era mind control experiment. LSD and hypnosis. The mysterious death of a scientist. His son’s 60-year search for answers. Morris brings his incisive eye to the hunt.

Where to watch it: Netflix

7. FIVE CAME BACK (2017)

Based on Mark Harris’s superlative book, this historical doc features filmmakers like Steven Spielberg and Guillermo del Toro discussing the WWII-era work of predecessors John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank Capra, and George Stevens. Also narrated by Meryl Streep, it looks at how the war shaped the directors and how they shaped the war. As a bonus, Netflix has the war-time documentaries featured in the film available to stream.

Where to watch it: Netflix

8. THE STORY OF FILM: AN ODYSSEY (2011)

If you can’t afford film school, and your local college won’t let you audit any more courses, Mark Cousins’s 915-minute history is the next best thing. Unrivaled in its scope, watching it is like having a charming encyclopedia discuss its favorite movies. Yes, at 15-episodes it’s sprawling, so, yes, you should watch it all in one go. Carve out a weekend and be ready to take notes on all the movies you want to watch afterward.

Where to watch it: Sundance Now

9. UGLY DELICIOUS (2018)

David Chang, the host of the first season of The Mind of a Chef, has returned with a cultural mash-up disguised as a foodie show. What does it mean for pizza to be “authentic”? What do Korea and the American South have in common? With his casual charm in tow, Chang and a variety of special guests explore people through the food we love to eat as an artifact that brings us all together.

Where to watch it: Netflix

10. JAZZ (2000)

A legend of nonfiction, Ken Burns has more than a few docuseries available to stream, including long-form explorations of the Civil War and baseball. His 10-episode series on jazz exhaustively tracks nearly a century of the formation and evolution of the musical style across the United States. You’ll wanna mark off a big section of the calendar and crank up the volume.

Where to watch it: Amazon

11. THE STAIRCASE (2004)

In 2001, author Michael Peterson reported to police that his wife had died after falling down a set of stairs, but police didn’t buy the story and charged him with her murder. Before the current true crime boom, before Serial and all the rest, there was Jean-Xavier de Lestrade’s Peabody Award-winning docuseries following Peterson’s winding court case. The mystery at the heart of the trial and the unparalleled access Lestrade had to Peterson’s defense make this a must-see. (Netflix just announced that it will be releasing three new episodes of the series this summer.)

Where to watch it: Sundance Now

12. PLANET EARTH II (2016)

The sequel to the 2006 original is a real stunner. Narrated (naturally) by Sir David Attenborough, featuring music from Hans Zimmer, and boasting gorgeous photography of our immeasurably fascinating planet, this follow-up takes us through different terrains to see the life contained within. There are snow leopards in the mountains, a swimming sloth in the islands, and even langurs in our own urban jungle. Open your eyes wide to learn a lot or put it on in the background to zen out.

Where to watch it: Netflix

13. THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA’S BEST IDEA (2009)

The cheapest way to visit Yosemite, Yellowstone, Muir Woods, and more. This Emmy-winning, six-part series is both a travelogue and a history lesson in conservation that takes up the argument of why these beautiful places should be preserved: to quote President Roosevelt, “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.”

Where to watch it: Amazon

14. CONFLICT (2015)

Experience the too-often-untold stories of conflict zones through the lenses of world class photographers like Nicole Tung, Donna Ferraro, and João Silva. This heart-testing, bias-obliterating series is unique in its views into dark places and eye toward hope.

Where to watch it: Netflix

15. LAST CHANCE U (2016)

Far more than a sports documentary, the story of the players at East Mississippi Community College will have you rooting for personal victories as much as the points on the scoreboard. Many of the outstanding players on the squad lost spots at Division I schools because of disciplinary infractions or failing academics, so they’re seeking redemption in a program that wants them to return to the big-name schools. There are two full seasons to binge and a third on the way.

Where to watch it: Netflix

16. VICE (2013)

Currently in its sixth season, the series is known for asking tough questions that need immediate answers and giving viewers a street-level view of everything from killing cancer to juvenile justice reform. Its confrontational style of gonzo provocation won’t be everyone’s cup of spiked tea, but it’s filling an important gap that used to be filled by major network investigative journalists. When they let their subjects—from child soldiers suffering PTSD after fighting for ISIS to coal miners in Appalachia—tell their stories, nonfiction magic happens.

Where to watch it: HBO

17. CHEF’S TABLE (2015)

From David Gelb, the documentarian behind Jiro Dreams of Sushi, this doc series is a backstage pass to the kitchens of the world’s most elite chefs. The teams at Osteria Francescana, Blue Hill, Alinea, Pujol, and more open their doors to share their process, culinary creativity, and, of course, dozens of delicious courses. No shame in licking your screen.

Where to watch it: Netflix

18. NOBU’S JAPAN (2014)

For those looking to learn more about culture while chowing down, world-renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa guides guest chefs to different regions of Japan to ingest the sights, sounds, and spirits of the area before crafting a dish inspired by the journey. History is the main course, with a healthy dash of culinary invention that honors tradition.

Where to watch it: Sundance Now

19. THE SYSTEM (2014)

Should a jury decide if a child is sentenced to life in jail without parole? How can you go to jail for 20 years for shooting your gun inside your own home to deter thieves? These are just two of the questions examined by this knockout series about the conflicts, outdated methods, and biases lurking in America’s criminal justice system. Insightful and infuriating, it makes a strong companion to Ava DuVernay’s 13th.

Where to watch it: Al Jazeera and Sundance Now

20. BOBBY KENNEDY FOR PRESIDENT (2018)

It won’t be available until April 27 (so close!), but it’s well worth adding to your queue. This four-part series utilizes a wealth of footage, including unseen personal videos, to share the tragic story of Robert F. Kennedy’s run for president in the context of an era riven by racial strife. Watching this socio-political memorial told by many who were there (including Marian Wright and Congressman John Lewis), it will be impossible not to draw connections to the current day and wonder: What if?

Where to watch it: Netflix

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