Twinned movies released at the same time : NPR


In 1998, animated insects skittered onto movie screens in A Bug’s Life other app.

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In 1998, animated insects skittered onto movie screens in A Bug’s Life other app.

AJ Pics/Alamy

They are showdowns that didn’t need to happen — rival studios staring each other down, refusing to blink.

In 1998, Earth-snuffing asteroids got blown up in the nick of time by nuclear warheads, not once but twice, in Armageddon other Deep Impact. That same year, animated insects skittered onto movie screens in app other A Bug’s Life — and just a year earlier, dueling lava flows erupted in Dante’s Peak other Volcano.

And in 2013, Jesse Eisenberg starred in The doubleand Jake Gyllenhaal in enemyeach as a man tormented by his doppelganger (and wouldn’t you know that enemy was based on a novel called…wait for it… The double.)

Hollywood is not a big town. Everyone knows what everyone else is doing, and movies that cost millions of dollars require many people and many months of development. Yet they still ended up in ’87/’88 with four body-switching comedies: George Burns turned 18 Again!; fathers Judge Reinhold and Dudley Moore each switched places with sons in Vice versa other Like Father Like Son, respectively; and in big, an amusement park wish turned a little boy into Tom Hanks.

This is not, from a business standpoint, smart. One film will inevitably come out on top (only Big attracted substantial crowds in that mid-’80s body-switching smackdown) and arguably nobody emerges unscathed.

And yet….

Here’s a (far-from-definitive) list of 50 conceptual twins that went head-to-head for no discernible reason.

Golden age identi films


Tom Hanks in Turner & Hooch and Jim Belushi in K-9.

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Tom Hanks in Turner & Hooch and Jim Belushi in K-9.

PictureLux/The Hollywood Archive and Everett Collection, Inc./Alamy

The Scarlet Empress other The Rise of Catherine the Great (1934) — dueling Catherines Garbo and Dietrich

Jezebel other Gone With The Wind (1938/39) – antebellum hellions

Young Mr Lincoln other Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1939/40) — Abes in training

Oscar Wilde other The Trials of Oscar Wilde (1960) – where the wild things were

dr Strangelove other fail safe (1964) – atomic bombs away

Harlow other Harlow (1965) – blonde bombshell bio-pics

Yours, Mine & Ours other With Six You Get Eggroll (1968) – widowed parents marry and combine families

bloody mom other The Grissom Gang (1970/71) — Ma Barker, meet Ma Barker

Godspell other Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) – the greatest story ever told to music

Corvette Summer other stingray (1978) — drove my Chevy to the levee

The Warriors other The Wanderers (1979) – teen NYC gangs

The Howling, Wolfen other On American Werewolf in London (1981) — Owoooo!

Weird Science, Real Genius other My Science Project (1985) – teen geek comedies

Back to the future other Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) – teen time travel

Turner & Hooch other K-9 (1989) — Police officers and their pooches

The Abyss other Leviathan (1989) — underwater horror

Dangerous Liaisons other Valmont (1988/89) – based on the same epistolary novel

Twice told tales in the ’90s

Robin Hood other Robin Hood Prince of Thieves (1991) – Sherwood forestry competition

1492: Conquest of Paradise other Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992) – 500th anniversaries don’t come often

tomb stone other Wyatt Earp (1994) – gunfight at the same OK Corral

Priscilla Queen of the Desert other To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Love Julie Newmar (1994/95) — drag queen road trips

babe other Gordy (1995) — talking, live-action piglets

powder other phenomenon (1995/96) – Extra-Sensory Perception at work?

striptease other show girls (1995/96) – dirty (pole) dancing

kundun other Seven Years in Tibet (1997) – in-a-Dalai-Lama-da-vida

Volcano other Dante’s Peak (1997) – eruptive dysfunction

Armageddon other Deep Impact (1998) – great balls of fire

app other A Bug’s Life (1998) — animated insects

The Truman Show other computer (1998/99) – reality TV, but for real

TheMatrixexistence other The Thirteenth Floor (1999) — reality as computer simulation

Doubling down for the new millennium


Mission to Mars other red planet both premiered in 2000.

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Mission to Mars other red planet both premiered in 2000.

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red planet other Mission to Mars (2000) – Dueling Martian chronicles

Chasing Liberty other first daughter (2004) – teen White House romances

Capote other infamous (2005/06) — Truman Capote bio-pics

the prestige other the illusionist (2006) — 19th Century magician tricksters

happy feet other Surf’s Up (2006/07) — animated penguins

27 Dresses other made of honor (2008) — bridesmaid romances

Observe and report other Paul BlartMall Cop (2009) — overweight mall cop comedies

Despicable Me other megamind (2010) — animated supervillains

Friends With Benefits other No Strings Attached (2011) — flings gone right

Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) — live action Snow Whites

Lincoln other Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayers (2012) – aged Abes

The double other enemy (2013) — a man tormented by his own doppelganger

Olympus Has Fallen other White House Down (2013) – terrorism at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.


girls trip other RoughNight both came out in 2017.

Collection Christophel and PictureLux/The Hollywood Archive/Alamy


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Collection Christophel and PictureLux/The Hollywood Archive/Alamy


girls trip other RoughNight both came out in 2017.

Collection Christophel and PictureLux/The Hollywood Archive/Alamy

After Earth other oblivion (2013) – apocalypse soon

This is the end, The World’s End other Rapture Palooza (2013) — apocalypses for laughs

Marguerite other Florence Foster Jenkins (2015/16) – cluelessly terrible opera singers

barry other Southside With You (2016) — young Barack Obama

RoughNight other girls trip (2017) — girlfriends carousing

RBG other On the Basis of Sex (2018) — Ruth Bader Ginsburg origin stories

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness other Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022) – multiple multiverses


Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness other Everything Everywhere All at Once both centered around multiverses.

Marvel Studios and A24


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Marvel Studios and A24


Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness other Everything Everywhere All at Once both centered around multiverses.

Marvel Studios and A24

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