Over the years, Hollywood has encountered many dual versions of a similar story within a short period, from Deep Impact and Armageddon in 1998 to No Strings Attached and Friends with Benefits in 2011. But sometimes, two movies come out that tell the exact same story. This can happen for various reasons. Fairytales, legends, and historical figures are within the public domain, paving the way for infinite versions of Snow White, Hercules, and Catherine the Great. Copyright for books lapses with time, while biopics can normally be made with or without authorization from the subject’s estate. But despite these permissive laws, there are cases in which legal wrangling is involved. The two Bond movies released in 1983, for example, were the result of decades of lawsuits, while the filmmakers behind one of 1992’s dueling Christopher Columbus movies tried to block the other production from going forward.
Competing stories face a tricky run at the box office. Viewers who have just seen a Truman Capote biopic or a live-action remake of a classic Disney movie may not have an appetite to see the same thing with different actors. But occasionally, filmmakers have a distinctive enough approach to their subject to justify another visit. Whether you like multiple perspectives on a musical icon or as many Robin Hoods as producers are willing to greenlight, vote up the stories so interesting, they got two movies at once.
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