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[[quoteright:350:[[Film/BasicInstinct http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/CopycatCover_6027.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Subtle.]]

CoversAlwaysLie taken up by marketing. Copycat Covers tend to naturally occur during the release of more popular and better movies and games, and their aesthetic similarity seems intended to confuse less observant customers. This is especially common with stories that were originally in the public domain (Disney is a major victim of this) but might also be done retroactively long after the knockoff's release.

Copycat covers can usually be spied out by being much lower quality and suspiciously lower in price.

A tactic often employed by TheMockbuster. See also TrendCovers.

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!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Film]]
* ''Pirates XXX'' was make to bank on the success of ''PiratesOfTheCaribbean'', by appealing to the crowd who would have liked the {{Disney}} movies if not for the fact that you couldn't really masturbate to them (unless your tastes were ''really weird''). Then it gets weird -- the director was so proud of his porno[[hottip:*:and needed to recoup costs--it's the most expensive porno of all time]] that he made an R-rated, sex-free version for public viewing.
** ''Flesh Gordon'', similarly, started as a [[ParallelPornTitles porn knockoff]] of ''[[Film/FlashGordonSerial Flash Gordon]]'', but the director was so proud of the special effects that he cut it down to an R and released it in theaters.
* In the US, a studio called TheAsylum is notorious for releasing [[TheMockbuster mockbusters]] that shamelessly rip off not only the movies themselves, but their posters as well.
** They've been hit with a hefty lawsuit from Fox over ''[[Film/TheDayTheEarthStoodStill2008 The Day the Earth Stopped]]''. It doesn't help that both titles translate the same way in French.
* ''Film/BatmanTheMovie'' has received a new, dark cover made to cash in on the success of ''Film/TheDarkKnight''.
** To clarify, it's nearly identical to the 1989 Batman cover (logo on black background), except it's a red version of the simpler bat logo from the '60s series.
* As seen above, ''Film/BasicInstinct'' was ripped off by ''Betrayed'', which has also been described as "''Basic Instinct'' [[{{Dissimile}} without sex]]".
* The cover of the ''Series/StrangersWithCandy'' movie is a sleazy parody of the cover of ''Film/MeanGirls''. Justified, as the movie (and the show it's based on) is a [[BlackComedy darkly comic]] parody of {{teen drama}}s and after-school specials.
* Hilariously, the newest DVD releases of ''Film/NearDark'' model their covers after the ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'' films. Considering ''Film/NearDark'' features the more archetypal scary, violent, and unsexy vampires, Twifans could be in for quite a show if they picked this one up.
* Similar to the ''Film/NearDark'' example, the thriller ''Summer's Blood'', starring Creator/AshleyGreene as a woman being stalked by a family of serial killers, has a poster designed to cash in on the fact that Greene played Alice in ''Literature/{{Twilight}}''. It even received a Copycat ''Title'' in the form of ''Summer's Moon''. Compare [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Poster_of_the_movie_Summer%27s_Blood.jpg this poster]] to [[http://www.imdb.com/media/rm2902821120/tt1285010 this one.]]
** Probably the most interesting part of the change was that the original tagline, "Abducted by a twisted family, will she become one of them to survive?" was cut down to just "Will she become one of them to survive?" The removal of the context, combined with the change of the background from day to night, the reference to ''Twilight'', and the already-existing blood around the character's mouth, seems designed to make viewers think that the movie will be about the girl deciding whether to become a vampire, rather than just a serial killer!
* Creator/TylerPerry's ''I Can Do Bad All by Myself'' poster was pretty obviously modeled on the one for ''Film/StrawDogs''. This was probably an {{homage}} people were ''meant'' to notice, though.
* A recent DVD release of ''[[Franchise/SherlockHolmes The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes]]'' featuring Basil Rathbone features [[http://covers.booktopia.com.au/big/9325626005446/the-adventures-of-sherlock-holmes.jpg a cover design]] that is [[http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-eKDCzu5PMFE/TuuIatFySlI/AAAAAAAABoE/pn4VOjJV_zw/s1600/sherlock_holmes_movie_poster-normal.jpg a blatant attempt]] to cash in on the [[Film/SherlockHolmes new Robert Downey Jr. films]].
* The VHS cover for ''The Eerie Midnight Horror Show'', is [[http://www.1000misspenthours.com/posters/posterse-g/eeriemidnighthorrorshow.jpg ridiculously similar]] to ''TheRockyHorrorPictureShow'', down to the title (the movie itself is a ripoff of ''TheExorcist''). TheCinemaSnob even expressed disgust at seeing that the [[http://media.flexiety.com/images/EerieMidnightHorrorShowa8082_f.jpg DVD one]] is nowhere as {{Narm}}y.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Food]]
* Nabisco's healthier Snackwells line of products came out with green labeling. Shortly thereafter, other companies started mimicked the packaging for their healthier offerings. Fast forward ten years, and now it's considered the standard identification for a lower fat, lower sugar, lower sodium food alternative.
* The packaging for artificial sweeteners plays follow-the-leader with the first product to reach the market. Saccharine is always in pink packages (like Sweet'n'Low), aspartame is blue (like Equal), and sucralose is yellow (like Splenda).
* There are two kinds of store-brand cereals in the US: those that use similarly themed but distinct mascots, which can taste as good as or even better than the premium brands, like Malt-O-Meal... and those that don't even try to hide what they're copying, and whose taste match those efforts, like Super Value Plus.
** Or "Cheery Oats," which are virtually identical to the more popular Cheerios. Given that Cheerios are also made from oats, it's difficult to tell why there hasn't been a lawsuit.
* Decaf coffee carafes in restaurants tend to have orange handles. This is because Sanka, a once-dominant brand of decaffeinated coffee, used orange on its labels and its carafes. Although Sanka is almost a forgotten memory (at least in restaurants,) the mighty orange handle soldiers on.
* Crisps (potato chips) in the UK are generally colour-coded by flavour: red is Ready Salted, green is Cheese & Onion, blue is Salt & Vinegar, pink is Prawn Cocktail, brown is Barbecue Beef (or similar).
** Except for Walkers - the dominant brand - who switch green and blue...
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* This is standard industry procedure with books. Whenever a movie or TV adaptation of a book comes out (or of a book on the same topic, or a completely unrelated topic ''by the same author''), a new edition of the book will almost always be printed with a Copycat Cover and a blurb on it somewhere hawking the movie or show.
* An example that's laced with HypocriticalHumor: Nancy Stouffer, of ''Literature/TheLegendOfRahAndTheMuggles'' infamy, claimed that the name and likeness of ''Literature/HarryPotter'' were ripped off from her character "Larry Potter", and [[strike:re-]]released the books with the title UncannyValley resident on covers so blatantly ripped off from the Bloomsbury editions of the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' novels that [[http://covers.openlibrary.org/b/olid/OL8844573M-M.jpg they have to be seen to be believed.]]
* Pretty much every vampire book published in the last five years has a cover that looks exactly like ''Literature/{{Twilight}}''. Even classic romance stories like ''RomeoAndJuliet'', ''Literature/WutheringHeights'' and ''Literature/PrideAndPrejudice'' have appeared with ''Twilight''-inspired covers at some bookstores.
* Probably to indicate shared elements (a humorous take on a British empire), the ''Literature/SpaceCaptainSmith'' novels have similar covers to the British ''Literature/{{Flashman}}'' covers.
* Odd example in which the two books have the same title and the copied book is fairly obscure. ''The Big Con'' is a book about con artists that inspired ''TheSting'' and has a reissue cover that looks like [[http://www.amazon.com/Big-Story-Confidence-Man/dp/0385495382/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1301936820&sr=1-1 this]]. ''The Big Con'' is also the title of a work attacking conservative economic philosophies, which has used [[http://www.progressivebookclub.com/var/pbc/images/cover_the_big_con1.jpg this cover]] and later [[http://di105.shoppingshadow.com/images/di/36/51/5f/4b306d6e335856486e75644547745237497077-149x149-0-0.jpg this one]].
* ''Literature/TheQuantumThief'', a post-Singularity SpaceOpera, was first published in England and was given [[http://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Thief-Hannu-Rajaniemi/dp/0765329492/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1301937034&sr=1-1 this cover]] for the United States printing, which is very similar in font and design to the covers for books in the [[Literature/TheCulture Culture]] series- [[http://www.amazon.com/Surface-Detail-Iain-M-Banks/dp/0316123404/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1 compare]].
* Thanks to the huge boost in popularity ''Series/GameOfThrones'' has given to his writing, George R.R. Martin's humorous science fiction novel ''Literature/TufVoyaging'' was reissued, and [[http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-AQy03aqavJc/TyVAAlKaVmI/AAAAAAAAEto/pedqZ8UMVo0/s1600/Tuf%2BVoyaging.jpg one of its covers]] definitely plays off of the Medieval Fantasy setting of ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire''.
* The cover of at least one edition of "Divergent" has a burning brooch (that looks suspiciously like the mockingjay pin from "Hunger Games" set against a dark background. Sure, the series starts with a 16 year old girl facing a traumatically special day in her life, and it's told in first person but... erm... "The Hunger Games" it ain't.
[[/folder]]


[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Some copies of the History Channel's ''The 300 Spartans'' have been modified to look like the cover of ''Film/ThreeHundred'' soon after the DVD release. The resemblance continues in the documentary itself, sepia-tones and all. Only perhaps more historically accurate.
* The title card for the {{MTV}} reality show ''Series/SixteenAndPregnant'' rips off ''Film/{{Juno}}''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''Billy the Wizard'', a knockoff of the official ''VideoGame/HarryPotter'' video game. Its sequel, about broomstick racing, is a knockoff of ''HP'''s Quidditch sequel.
* An awful lot of so-called [[ShoddyKnockoffProduct "1000-in-1" ROM-loading video game systems]] mimic the look of consoles current at the time.
* ''Pirates'' was a PlayStation2 game released right around the time the ''PiratesOfTheCaribbean'' movie came out. Interestingly, the official game for the movie apparently began as an unrelated pirate game.
* ''[[{{Myst}} Pyst]]'' and its planned sequel ''Driven'' had the excuse of explicitly identifying themselves as parodies, and if the developers had had the money for court costs they would probably have won the lawsuit that was filed against them. They did not have the money, so ''Driven'' was never made.
* A promotional CGI render Capcom made for ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil4'' shows [[FemmeFatale Ada Wong]] posing similar to the way Anne Parillaud did for the ''Series/LaFemmeNikita'' movie poster. Probably more of an {{homage}} than anything else, though.
* The cover artwork for the original ''VideoGame/MetalGear'' is a blatant trace-over of a promotional still of Michael Biehn in ''TheTerminator''.
* The cover artwork for the NES version of ''VideoGame/{{Contra}}'' is based on two different promotional stills of Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger from the movie ''Film/{{Predator}}''.
* The cover artwork for ''VideoGame/DoubleDragon Advance'' is based on a promotional still of BruceLee and ChuckNorris from ''WayOfTheDragon''.
* [[http://flyers.arcade-museum.com/?page=flyer&db=videodb&id=4090&image=1 This flyer]] for the Konami arcade game ''Majū no Ōkoku'' (released as ''Dark Adventure'' in the United States and ''Devil World'' in other regions) is a blatant copycat of the poster for ''ReturnOfTheJedi'' (appropriately enough, with the game's IndianaJones-ripoff protagonist standing in for Creator/HarrisonFord).
* [[http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/tracing/tracing.htm This article]] from Website/HardcoreGaming101 compiles tons of examples, including a few mentioned above. Video game art directors have rarely seemed to have an issue with plagiarism.
* The cover and title screen of ''VideoGame/PowerBlade'' show what looks a lot like Arnold Schwarzenegger in ''Film/Terminator2JudgmentDay''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theatre]]
* ''Theatre/ForbiddenBroadway''[='s=] "Original Cast Recording" had a cover based on the poster art for ''Theatre/MerrilyWeRollAlong'', though parody is clearly the justification here.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The DVD release of the same-titled WebAnimation which inspired ''Film/UndercoverBrother'' mimicked the derivative film's poster.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Pretty much every [[DisneyAnimatedCanon Disney movie]] ripoff has one of these.
* A German company named Creator/DingoPictures makes these regularly, with badly animated knockoffs of Disney stories and even ''character designs''. A good number of these were released as [=PlayStation=] 2 [[strike:games]] [[MinigameGame minigame collections]] by the infamous Phoenix Games.
* Goodtimes Video does this against any entry in the DisneyAnimatedCanon based on a PublicDomainCharacter.
* The posters and DVD covers for the ''JimmyNeutron'' and ''HeyArnold'' movies both show the same basic art of the protagonist and his friends in the foreground with the film's villain as an EvilOverlooker, with the only major difference being that Jimmy holds a weapon and Arnold doesn't. This was made especially evident when the movies' [=DVDs=] were reissued together as a Double Feature DVD release.
* [[http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-keLayxDyiP4/UCwnoWstokI/AAAAAAAAFhM/JwF5CKIMmfo/s1600/brave+poster.jpg This]] is, of course, a poster for ''WesternAnimation/{{Brave}}''. [[http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-fvSKcAk0JwU/UCwmQ5jPHlI/AAAAAAAAFhE/UaanWGqZvSE/s1600/braver+dvd+cover.jpg This]] is the cover to the direct-to-DVD cartoon ''Braver''. Note that the actual cartoon is traditional cel-animation, the lead character wears a pink dress, and ''she isn't even a redhead'', she's blonde. The film was originally released six years earlier as ''A Fairy Tale Christmas'', and [[http://2.bp.blogspot.com/--uFQGjIrsM0/UCwlP5ZrkrI/AAAAAAAAFg8/Fu9D5qECh6s/s1600/a+fairytale+christmas.jpg this cover]] gives a better idea of what it's actually like.
* ''WesternAnimation/AvengersAssemble'' has [[http://tvshowsondvd.com/news/Marvels-Avengers-Assemble-Assembly-Required/18767 a DVD cover]] that blatantly duplicates the movie poster of ''Film/TheAvengers''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Other]]
* Any number of Chinese cars; Shuanghuan CEO (BMW X5), Great Wall Florid (Scion [=xA=] with Toyota Yaris nose), Huo Yun Electromobile (Smart Fortwo), FAW F5 (Volkswagen Jetta) and so on. This doesn't count licensed clones and [[MarketBasedTitle rebadged cars]] (Daewoo Lacetti/Chevrolet Optra, or Pontiac GTO and Vauxhall (Holden) Monaro), which are a different matter entirely and a long tradition in the auto industry.
** A more crude example of the above was seen in a southern Chinese town: an early-model Mazda MX-5 from which all Mazda decals and identifying marks had been carefully removed and replaced with appropriately-located BMW symbols.
* A college recruiting envelope which said [In large bold print] "Northwestern College of Law" [in small print] "of Lewis & Clark College." Nice try, guys.
** There's also a "Berkeley College" that likes to advertise in the New York Tri-State area.
* ''PrivateEye'' have recently started a column about examples of this trope with book covers. One of the most popular covers appears to be a man in a dark coat striding dramatically away from the viewer into a winter scene.
* Instant Immersion, a language-learning software that [[FollowTheLeader apes Rosetta Stone's yellow packaging]]. It's significantly cheaper, however, the contents are... considerably cheaper.
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