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Dueling Movies: Animation
Initiators Followers Description Misc Winner?
A Bug's Life Antz The first example of Pixar and DreamWorks really dueling. Featuring ants as their main protagonists, the ant worker hero, who wants to stand out among the millions of other ants, falls for the ant princess, who seems an almost unattainable love interest. The ant hero goes on a long journey to a bug city, which is actually a pile of human garbage. And then he returns and gets the girl. Apart from the ants being protagonists, almost nothing else about the films was the same. A Bug's Life had a very cartoonish design, while Antz had a more realistic design of the insects. Antz had dark humor, dialogue and themes all around, while A Bug's Life was aimed at children. Just the same, thanks to the ants, they were both considered to be ripping each other off. (Fact is, Jeffery Katzenberg, though responsible for getting Toy Story greenlit, had just been booted from Disney, was furious at them, and knew about the next Pixar project; the competition was intentional.) Both films were a success with both audiences and critics, as well as financially, but A Bug's Life won by bringing in $200,000,000 more than Antz thanks to appealing more to kids and better promotion.
Finding Nemo Shark Tale Another Pixar vs. Dreamworks duel, this time with films about underwater creatures. That's about the only similarity. Finding Nemo by a longshot, thanks to it being a critical darling as well as a box office smash. On the other hand, Shark Tale was hit with mixed-to-negative reviews, but was still able to do decently at the box office.
The Great Mouse Detective An American Tail Both animated movies featuring talking mice in the 1800s, released in 1986 within about four months of each other, with The Great Mouse Detective being released first. Not in direct competition, as the films have little in common but the species of their protagonists and the approximate time period. Still, Disney and Don Bluth's animation studio did have their eyes on one another. Before this, no other animation studio had been successful in dethroning Disney in the animated film department, and Spielberg and Bluth were attempting to accomplish just that. Understandably, Disney wasn't too worried... at first. An American Tail became the biggest box office success for an animated film ever for its time, and the first to ever out-perform Disney. Disney re-releasing Lady and the Tramp and Song of the South (!!!) into theaters at the same time in an act of desperation and that did nothing to slow its momentum but The Great Mouse Detective was by no means a box-office bomb; its moderate success helped regain Disney's confidence after a long series of flops. Both movies are just as fondly remembered today, but with The Great Mouse Detective having perhaps a slightly larger fandom.
Oliver & Company All Dogs Go to Heaven Similar to the above, Bluth and Disney faced off again in 1988/1989 with films featuring dogs, little girls, and orphans. Charlie and Dodger look awfully similar, too. All Dogs Go to Heaven, released second, had to compete at the box office (and with the critics) against The Little Mermaid. Both received lukewarm reviews. Oliver & Company vastly outperformed All Dogs Go to Heaven at the box office, but All Dogs Go to Heaven became a hit on VHS and spawned a sequel and a TV series, while Oliver & Company remains one of Disney's least-remembered films.
Titan A.E. Treasure Planet Final Bluth vs. Disney face-off. Fatherless boy tries to solve his daddy issues by going on a space voyage in search of a long-lost treasure, hidden on a Big Dumb Object, with a less-than-stellar crew of galactic Petting Zoo People, one of whom is a Parental Substitute, but proves to be The Mole, using a starmap only he can read. The villain redeems himself in a Take My Hand moment while trying to activate/deactivate the Forgotten Doomsday Device. More specific, you say? OK... Both films were heavily and deliberately marketed to single-parent Gen-X kids. Used Future, Schizo Tech and uplifting Grunge music pops up on occasion. Oh, and one is about Pirates in a Steam Punk Alternate Universe, based on a classic novel. The other is about Space Pirates After the End, based on Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica. Both got an Earth-Shattering Kaboom. Neither. The two films destroyed each other, with Treasure Planet being unfairly compared to the (poorly-marketed) Titan, nearly killing the entire genre of traditional animation in one of the worst case of Dueling Films ever. Fortunately, both were later Vindicated by Cable.
Madagascar The Wild Both involve zoo animals escaping and going to Africa, one of whom is a lion character who doesn't really want to leave. Both also include a heaping amount of cartoon slapstick and Toilet Humour. It's worth noting that The Wild started production several years before Madagascar, so this might be an example of the above feud, carried on by Pixar's parent company. Madagascar was a huge hit (which spawned its own franchise — two sequels and a TV series), and The Wild not so much.
Ratatouille The Tale of Despereaux An incident involving a rat, some soup, and interactions with humans has wild repercussions. Ratatouille is all about a rodent in the kitchen while Desperaux's soup-loving rat isn't the protagonist. Despereaux was based on a bestselling children's book and had the flashier voice cast, but Ratatouille won the day and the Best Animated Feature Oscar.
Despicable Me Megamind Animated movies released in the same year about an Evil Genius Villain Protagonist. Despicable Me has also been called Penguin: The Movie due to the main character's visual similarities. Megamind has been referred to as Gallaxhar: The Movie, again, for similar looks. Despicable Me got both better reviews and almost twice the box office with $543 million in total on around half the budget ($69 million vs $130 million for Megamind), and received an only slightly less well-received sequel, while Megamind bought $321 million and got good-but-not-great reviews (but it has become a Cult Classic and is considered one of Dreamworks' better films).
Open Season Over the Hedge All-Star Cast CGI films about wild vs. tame/cosmopolitan animals. Season deals with a tame bear being introduced to the wild while Hedge deals with wild animals being introduced to the suburbs. Interestingly, both films have bears as the catalyst for their respective plots. Though both films were profitable and Open Season had a sequel in production (though that went straight to DVD), Hedge made more money and was much better critically received.
The Legend of the Titanic Titanic: The Legend Goes On Two So Bad, It's Good animated movies very loosely based on the Titanic disaster, and the movie. The fact that they both seem to consider the tragedy of the Titanic to be a "Legend" is very telling. Both of them include talking animals and happy endings. The Legend Of The Titanic attempts more on the storyline part while Titanic The Legend Goes On attempts to have more characters and subplots. Neither of them got a critical success. Commercial success outside Italy at least was very limited for both of them too. However, The Legend of the Titanic managed to get a sequel.
Alpha and Omega Rio

Newt
All three films involve two animals of the same species, opposite genders, and (at least confirmed in the cases of Newt and Alpha) opposite personalities being put together for the purposes of repopulating their species. Alpha and Omega came out in Fall 2010 (and was the final film for its late star, Dennis Hopper), Rio in 2011, and Newt would have come out in 2012. Pixar canceled Newt so that they could avoid this problem, though considering Pixar leaked details on Newt shortly before Blue Sky announced Rio, it's completely possible that the whole project was just intended to induce the other studios into copying it so they wouldn't have to worry about them copying the other movie they were working on. Alpha and Omega (from Lionsgate) is about two wolves (Kate and Humphrey) who are captured and released far from home to increase the wolf population in the area. They work together to get home. Rio (from Blue Sky Studios) is about two birds (Blu and Jewel). Blu thinks he is the Last of His Kind and travels to find Jewel. Newt was about two newts (Newt and Brooke) — he's extremely sheltered, she's tough and street, er, wilderness-smart and they don't like each other — and their need to save their species. Unfortunately, Pixar decided to drop out. Rio is definitely the winner — it brought in five times as much as Alpha and Omega, and had much better reception, while Alpha and Omega fared poorly with critics, although it has a small following and a string of Direct-to-Video sequels.
Monsters, Inc. Ice Age Two kid-friendly animated comedy/adventure movies, released within 5 months of each other in 2001-2002. In each, a team of odd-looking but lovable-when-you-get-to-know-them creatures endure many hazards as they strive to deliver a cute toddler to safety. Monsters is set in an imaginatively detailed alternate world (Pixar showing its strengths), populated by fanciful "monsters". Ice Age stars actual (if now-extinct) species, residing in prehistoric Earth. Monsters, Inc. won greater critical acclaim (a 95% rating at Rotten Tomatoes and nomination for Best Animated Picture), had a higher box-office take, and had spawned a prequel. But Ice Age is not a distant second; it did respectably in both departments (78% RT rating and also a nomination for Best Animated Feature film as well), and spawned three sequels.
Prep and Landing (TV special) Arthur Christmas Stories sharing a similar concept of Santa Claus and his elves using advanced technology and secret agent techniques to deliver all those toys though soon, one child's Christmas has to be saved. The original special and Arthur Christmas were put in development close to the same time, though as a film, Arthur Christmas took longer. While Prep and Landing focused primarily on the elves and hid the faces of the Clauses, the story of Arthur Christmas focuses on the Claus family relationships. Prep and Landing was successful enough on ABC to receive a follow-up short and a sequel. Arthur Christmas, on the other hand, had trouble at the box-office when faced with The Muppets and Breaking Dawn; however, it was blessed with rave reviews.
ParaNorman Hotel Transylvania, Frankenweenie Battle of the animated horror movies 2012! Norman sees dead people (and zombies), is in color, and produced by the makers of Coraline while Victor brought his dog back to life, is Deliberately Monochrome, is a remake of director Tim Burton's live-action Short Film, and includes lots of nauseating and gruesome scenes. Transylvania is CGI, set in a hotel for famous monsters, stars Adam Sandler and Selena Gomez (as well as much of Sandler's Production Posse), and is the film debut of Genndy Tartakovsky. Hotel Transylvania garnered the worst reviews of the three but did the best at the box office, while both ParaNorman and Frankenweenie received good-to-great reviews but were seen as disappointments commerciallynote . Frankenweenie had a substantially smaller budget than ParaNorman, though, so it takes silver. And meanwhile, Frankenweenie holds the highest out of the three for the Rotten Tomatoes aggregate.
Recess: School's Out Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius 2001 movies where a group of elementary school kids save the world. Recess: School's Out was based on the Disney TV show and focused on the main six trying to stop a madman from getting rid of summer vacation, while Jimmy Neutron served as a pilot to its Nickelodeon TV series and focused on Jimmy and the rest of the kids in town to save their parents from being killed by aliens. Also, Neutron was in CGI, while Recess had traditional animation. And while Recess didn't have much competition, Neutron was competing with Monsters, Inc. Both movies were loved by critics and did well in the box office, though Neutron had a somewhat larger gross and was nominated for an Oscar (as it wasn't based on a TV show). Neutron followed with a TV series, while Recess followed with its show being Un-Canceled (as the movie was going to serve as the finale) and gaining two sequels (released Direct-to-Video).
The Adventures of Tintin The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientistsnote 

Ice Age: Continental Drift
Animated movies where piracy and sea navigation are important plot points. Tintin and Ice Age are CGI, while Pirates is a stop-motion film by Aardman Animations. In terms of box office, it's Ice Age in first, Tintin in second, and Pirates in last. In terms of critical acclaim, however, the order is flipped — it's Pirates in first, followed by Tintin in a close second, followed by Ice Age in a distant third.
Happy Feet Surf's Up All-CGI Cartoon about penguins doing rather human group activities. Happy Feet, released in late 2006, tells a tale about singing penguins, and one who prefers to dance instead. Surf's Up came in mid 2007 and features penguins surfing. The latter even had some ad posters proclaiming "Our penguins don't sing. They don't dance. They SURF." Happy Feet made more than triple the box office and spawned a (poorly performing) sequel. And while Happy Feet and Surf's Up were about equally successful with critics, Happy Feet won the Best Animated Feature Oscar, while Surf's Up squeaked by with a nomination the next year, but lost to the aforementioned Ratatouille.
Turbo Planes Unlikely, hugely ambitious novice enters a big race. Turbo is about a snail competing against race cars and human drivers; Planes is a spinoff of Cars and features a crop-duster who wants to fly with the pros. Turbo got mixed reviews from critics and failed to make a big profit at the box office. Planes was vice versa; it was thrashed by critics, but was a huge success at the box office.
Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie Feature-length anime films based on popular fighting game franchises. Both films premiered in Japan in the summer of 1994. While Street Fighter II as a video game predated the original Fatal Fury, Fatal Fury had two made-for-TV anime specials that preceded The Motion Picture. Both films also feature a shower scene involving their respective heroine (Chun-Li and Mai Shiranui). However, Street Fighter II focused almost exclusively on the game's characters, while Fatal Fury had the heroes facing off against an original group of villains. Both movies were critically acclaimed by their respective fanbase, leaving their lasting appeal to the actual games' longevity. Aside from a brief hiatus in the mid 2000's, Street Fighter is still one of Capcom's cash cow franchises. Fatal Fury, on the other hand, was discontinued after the fighting game boom died out so that SNK could focus almost exclusively on their more popular King of Fighters series, since the company could no longer finance multiple fighting game franchises at the same time.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion Dokidoki Pre Cure the Movie: Mana's Getting Married!!? The Dress of Hope Tied to the Future Theatrical releases of Magical Girl films based on popular TV series that were themselves Dueling Shows, released on October 26. Rebellion is The Movie and acts as a sequel to the original, Precure is strictly a Non-Serial Movie. Precure is Shoujo, while Rebellion is distinctly Seinen, leading to a pronounced difference in tone. Both movies also include a Lotus-Eater Machine. Rebellion took this home easily, grossing nearly double Precure's total, netting a foreign release, and being artistically praised by fans but sparking a few thousand flamewars. Precure was hardly a failure, but it didn't make nearly as big a splash, even in its own fandom.
Monsters University Pokémon: Genesect and the Legend Awakened Family-friendly animated movies about monsters, based on decades-old franchises. Note that this "duel" mostly applied to the Japanese market; Genesect only got a very limited theatrical release in the West. Monsters University, is, well, Pixar. As such, it's a CGI movie directed towards family audiences: children, their parents, and fans who grew up with its prequel, Monsters, Inc., revisiting and building on the characters from said movie. Genesect, on the other hand, is traditionally animated, is the 16th movie in its long-running franchise, and was strictly marketed to children. It revisited its past by featuring Mewtwo, an iconic character from the early movies, but said Mewtwo turned out to be another member of the species rather than the original character. While both were nominal successes, MU won the box office and critics' approval. Genesect ended up becoming the second lowest-grossing Pokémon movie in the series, but is more notable for the Hype Backlash surrounding the Mewtwo character, causing the movie to become quite unpopular with anyone over the age of 9.
The Nut Job The Nut House Heist movie with squirrels who are trying to get nuts. The Nut Job was first announced in January 2011, based on a 2005 short film called Surly Squirrel and fronted by Toonbox, who had never done an animated movie before. Vanguard Animation, creators of Space Chimps and Happily Never After, announced The Nut House nine months later. Vanguard closed in 2012 with Nut House and several other projects still in the pipeline. The Nut Job was released in 2014 and was successful at the box office, but poorly-received by critics.
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