Sunday, September 2, 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.

United 93 / World Trade Center

Release dates: April 28, 2006 / August 9, 2006

The similarities: Both films were based on true events that took place on the day of September 11th, 2001, in the midst of the terrorist attacks. Along with TV movie “Flight 93,” this was the first time that the events of that day had been dramatized and chronicled on screen in major productions.

The differences: The former, which had a budget of $15 million, took place aboard the plane and featured mostly unrecognizable actors. Its events were soberly depicted and without much dramatized fanfare. The latter, which had a budget of $65 million, starred Nicolas Cage and came from controversial director Oliver Stone. Clocking in at over two hours, it was a more cinematic and less intimate showcase of two police officers trapped in the World Trade Center wreckage.

The releases: Though Box Office Mojo lists both under the “Controversy” genre, they both performed decently based on their release platforms. The former earned $31 million domestically and $76 million worldwide, and the latter took in $70 million domestically and $163 million worldwide. Critically, however, the former far outpaced the latter, though both received mostly positive reviews. “United 93” also earned Oscar nominations for Best Director and Best Film Editing.

Which one is more likely to be remembered? Those who didn’t want to see September 11th portrayed on screen still won’t think fondly of either film, but anyone who has seen the two will likely find the former respectful and effective, while the latter was more dramatic and staged.

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