Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday Similar Subjects

Welcome to a new weekly feature here at Movies With Abe. After spending a number of weeks looking at actors who tend to play the same characters, it’s time to spotlight two films with eerily similar plots that came out at roughly the same time. There are surprisingly more examples than might be obvious, and this series will examine the similarities and differences between the two, and how their simultaneous releases affected each other.

Capote / Infamous

Release dates: September 30, 2005 / October 13, 2006

The similarities: This isn’t a case of movies just seeing similar – they’re actually about the same thing. Both tell the true story of author Truman Capote during the time that he was researching his book “In Cold Blood” and growing closer to Perry Smith, one of the murderers.

The differences: Though they were based on different biographies, there’s not much that’s different, aside from the actors involved. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Toby Jones share the role of Capote, while Catherine Keener and Sandra Bullock play Harper Lee, and Clifton Collins Jr. and Daniel Craig play Perry Smith. The former film was slightly darker than the latter, but the stories were largely the same.

The releases: Both independent films received generally positive reviews, though the first did handily better, earning five Oscar nominations and a truckload of awards for star Philip Seymour Hoffman. The comparative grosses of the film track when adjusted for the number of theatres in which they were released. The former brought in $28 million from 1,200 theatres, while the latter raked up less than $2 million from less than 200 theatres.

Which one is more likely to be remembered? The former. This is really just a case of two films featuring the same storyline and one having the advantage of being both first and more formidable. It’s likely that many have seen the former and have never even heard of the latter.

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