Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday Similar Subjects

Welcome to a 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 (or three), and how their simultaneous releases affected each other.

Se7en / Copycat

Release dates: September 22, 1995 / October 27, 1995

The similarities: Two partners hunt down a mysterious serial killer with an extremely specific modus operandi and a keen interest in those pursuing him as more victims pile up in a dark thriller.

The differences: In the former, retiring detective Morgan Freeman and newbie Brad Pitt look for a killer who uses the Seven Deadly Sins as his basis for punishment. In the latter, psychologist Sigourney Weaver and detective Holly Hunter search for a killer who is emulating famous serial killers.

The releases: The former grossed $100 million dollars domestically, about triple its budget, and more than double that worldwide. The latter made $32 million, not significantly more than its budget. Reviews for the former were more positive for the latter, and “Se7en” racked up a handful of awards, such as Saturn Awards, MTV Movie Awards prize for Best Movie, and an Oscar nomination for Best Film Editing, while “Copycat” settled for two prizes from a French police film festival.

Which one is more likely to be remembered? The former, definitely. Of all the serial killer movies that have been made in the past two decades, most have been inspired by “Se7en” and its careful construction, whereas “Copycat” was quickly forgotten. Consider also the subsequent accomplishments of their directors. David Fincher followed up “Se7en” with “Fight Club,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” and “The Social Network,” while Jon Amiel has since made “The Man Who Knew Too Little,” “The Core,” and “Creation.”

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