Sunday, August 26, 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.

Antz / A Bug’s Life

Release dates: October 2, 1998 / November 25, 1998

The similarities: Both were computer-animated films, the second and third in the United States, respectively, following one open-minded insect in his quest to revitalize the way his colony works and to pursue the ant princess.

The differences: The former was released by DreamWorks, and the latter by Pixar. Story-wise, the former featured a tyrannical structure within the ant colony itself, while the latter set its hero against his grasshopper oppressors.

The releases: Both films did well in theatres, with the former earning $90 million domestically and the latter earning $162 million. The Thanksgiving release of the latter almost certainly helped it. Both films opened to positive reviews, and both earned four Annie Award nominations, taking home zero trophies each.

Which one is more likely to be remembered? The latter, because it was put out by Pixar. This simultaneous release actually got people upset because of the rivalry between DreamWorks and Pixar, and while DreamWorks beat Pixar to the punch by releasing the second computer-generated film (“Toy Story” was the first), its film didn’t do quite as well and, perhaps unfairly, isn’t remembered as favorably.

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