A clever rat
knows how to get the freshest ingredients: by stealing from another restaurant — or animation studio
, as the case may be...
In principle, the Mockbuster is a bit like a movie with an Alternative Pornographic Name
, but there's generally no nudity. It's not part of a pair of Battling Films
, because it can't even afford the fare to get to the ring where the shows duke it out. A mockbuster is a movie that is suspiciously similar
to another more popular, more well-known — and, let's face it, more "real" — movie, to the point of being the copy of an entire film. Why? Trying to Make Money Off a Popular Idea
, of course.
Because they're generally made by no-name studios to make a quick buck, the biggest difference between mockbusters and the movies they're based on is budget. The mockbuster has serious
budget restrictions. Think "three kids with a cellphone" production values. The writing is usually subpar, too—the producers aren't striving for Genuine Artistry
; they're trying to rip off a more popular idea in an attempt to con gullible consumers. Of course, depending on what they're copying, and the fact that it's probably not out yet when they start making the mockbuster, the original might not have been such a cinematic masterpiece itself.
However, if there's one thing mockbusters can do well, it's Duplicate Titles
. Their designs and logos, like the colors of a viceroy butterfly, are designed to resemble the "real" movies they're copying as closely as possible. Remember, Titles Usually Fib
. They also pick titles similar to the original, often containing similar words, or made-up words that sound the same.
The people mockbusters tend to appeal to seem to fall into four brackets: kids too young to know the difference between the real deal and the fake; people too old to care, who might get the two confused when looking for something for their kids and grandkids; parental Propriety Police
who want to get their children The Upstanding Alternative
to a mainstream film that is more in line with their values; and Dorks
, who aren't fooled at all, but who watch them for their awesome badness
. Bad stuff is interesting!
As such, they tend to be sold in supermarket magazine racks, pharmacy gift racks, and grab bags in outlet shops.
The rare cases of mockbusters that might actually try to do something "artistic" are those adapting Out Of Copyright
works, though again, generally only if a more "popular" story adapting the same work came out recently. This phenomenon sometimes applies to live theater as well with regards to public domain works (Pixie Stories
, The Theater Spirit
) that have had a more popular version created that smaller theater companies could never produce on their own. Alternately, sometimes a degree of artistic merit comes in when the cast/crew Ham Up The Cheesy Movie
Mockbusters tend to be made in countries outside of the US, as if in "response" to a coming American blockbuster. Those might change the plot based unobtanium
to something more in touch with their national sensibilities (the Indian Ultraguy
mockbuster has him getting his powers from a god, for example) and the genre might skew towards one more popular in that country (the Brazilian series Non-Villains
is somewhat like a soap opera).
How do all of these copyright friendly guys
get away with it? Often times, it's simply a matter of obscurity. Sure, that "Larry Baxter
" guy on the back of the cereal box who has to find the "Gilded Stitch
" is pretty similar to some book you read, but how much money is there really to be made from suing some company that designs bargain-basement cereal boxes?
See also Similar Erotica Names
(when this is applied to porn), Crappy Ripoff Items
(when this is applied to commercial products), Product Codes Removed
, and Same Name, Completely Different Plot Sequels
(when old foreign movies have their titles for the re-release changed in order for them to cash-in from current blockbusters).
Has nothing to do with the Mythtesters
UK Created For Television Film
channel Movies 24 ran a Mockbuster season, deliberately confusing the derivatives with the originals and calling out the trope by name. It includes The Terminators
, Aliens Versus Hunters
, Transmorphers Fall of Man
and Snakes on a Train
Examples (Pot holes lead to pages of the films being copied unless the copy itself has an article):
open/close all folders
Film - Animation
- Everything ever made by Dingo Pictures.
- Everything ever made by Brazilian company Video Brinquedo, responsible for:
- And everything ever made by Spark Plug Entertainment, the American equivalent of Video Brinquedo:
- Because of the problems between South Korea and Japan, anime was not available to Koreans. Because of this, in the 70's and 80's, the South Korean animation industry produced many films that were ripped off from mecha anime and toys. Later, a fella by the name of Joseph Lai and his company, IFD note , bought up the rights to some of these films, dubbed them into English, and edited bits and pieces of them together into new, incomprehensible forms like Space Thunder Kids. The more obvious ripoffs include:
- And from Thailand, videos released by Happy2Doo. While some of them are based on traditional fairy tales, others are obvious knockoffs of Disney movies like Winnie-the-Pooh, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, Dumbo, and The Princess and the Frog; and if it's not Disney, then it's The Land Before Time and... Doraemon?
- Titanic: The Legend Goes On and The Legend of the Titanic, both animated and based off some sinking boat movie.
- The former has some Mexican mice and a rapping dog, the latter a giant talking octopus that saves everybody, magical moon-tears that allow people to talk to dolphins, and a sequel.
- Examples from UAV Corporation:
- There was an animated film called Secret of the Hunchback that came out after Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame and even featured talking, singing gargoyles.
- The same company also made The Secret of Anastasia just as Don Bluth's Anastasia was released in theaters. Especially odd in that they weren't satisfied ripping off just one movie, but they also ripped off Beauty and the Beast by having the rest of the royal family transformed into talking musical instruments!
- They also did a version of Mulan where all the characters are insects.
- They've also done Young Hercules, and ripped off Pocahontas, Cinderella, Pinocchio, The Little Mermaid, and others. They even made a Christmas special called "The Christmas in Cartoontown" (re-released as "The Night Before Christmas in Cartoontown"), which, while not knocking off a specific film, put some of their fairy tale characters in a Christmas setting.
- Chop Kick Panda from Gaiam/Good Times studios.
- Yet another Kung Fu Panda knockoff comes from Lionsgate in the form of Legend of Kung Fu Rabbit. The title character looks like a cross between Richard Watterson and a moogle, and Rebecca Black is one of the voice actresses. You have been warned.
- Life's a Jungle: Africa's Most Wanted from Phase 4 Films.
- Right when Brave hit the big screen in 2012, a DVD called Braver started appearing on UK shelves, with a remarkably familiar front cover featuring a red-haired heroine in a green dress standing in front of a circle of standing stones. It turns out this one isn't even a knock-off; it's an entirely unrelated 2005 movie called A Fairy Tale Christmas (IMDB page here) which was hastily repackaged and rereleased to cash in. The new cover and title have nothing to do with the movie at all, and the main character Angela is a blonde-haired, blue-eyed princess who wears pink, making her look more like Aurora than Merida. Review here.
- This one (and other repackagings by the same company called Tangled Up, The Little Cars, and The Frog Princess) led to a successful prosecution for passing off by Disney in the UK, which may put a stop to this trope there.
- There's also another attempt to rip off Brave called Kiara the Brave, which was originally a completely unrelated Indian animation called Super K. The title character, Kiara, apparently barely appears, and only gets pushed because she's a red-headed princess.
- Early in 2012, Back to the Sea was released, which is essentially Finding Nemo AS AN ANIME! Bonus points for the Covers Always Lie, which paints it as a CGI movie along the lines of Finding Nemo or Shark Tale… even though the actual special uses 2-D animation.
- Many of the movies made by Golden Films.
- Lions Gate's Wings blatantly does this to Planes. Including the logo.
- In a Subversion, some overseas-edited versions of The Thief and the Cobbler were advertised as a Mockbuster of Aladdin. The subversion here is that the former started production well before the latter. By about THIRTY YEARS. It's a complicated and tragic story.
- "Snow Queen" by the Russian studio Wizart Animation is ostensibly a version of the story by Hans Christian Andersen, but the tagline is "A magical adventure in a Frozen land!"
- Similar to what happened with The Thief and the Cobbler, this happened to The Legend of Sarila.. Which is better known by its other title Frozen Land. While the logo and title are ripoffs of Frozen the actual film has no similarities other than them both taking place in snowy environments.
- The logo was so blatantly ripped off that Disney sued over it.
- Cinderella 3D is a Mockbuster Of Rango. Both feature ugly animals in a western setting that ride birds. It only came out a year after Rango was made, and it shows.
- Jungle Master, a CGI animated ripoff of Avatar with Victoria Justice in the lead.
Film - Live Action
- The Asylum is a company that only makes mockbusters and bad "Christian" movies, and are quite cynical about it. In fact, there's a news article in their website that states (and these are the actual words they use) "We've decided to use some of the billions of dollars we've made ripping people off..." The majority of the examples on this page are Asylum productions. A blog entry advertising a sale on their films: "You'd have to illegally download to get a better deal than that... but then you'd just be stooping to our level...". Their DVD covers have quotes from uncredited sources, which is illegal, unless they're making those up, too.
- 10 Million B.C.
- The 18 Year-Old Virgin
- 30,000 Leagues Under the Sea
- 2012: Doomsday
- The Almighty Thor, featuring a Thor with an Uzi. Asylum, you've done it again!
- Universal successfully sued The Asylum for their movie American Battleship for being too obvious of an attempt to fool viewers into thinking it's Battleship. The Asylum had to change the name of their movie to American Warships. It's still rented and sold in many countries as American Battleship, though (and damned if you can find out who made the film from its cover; it's nowhere to be found).
- Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies, presently buried in the fun part of Netflix.
- Alan Quartermain and the Kingdom of Gold, which re-purposes the classic character as an Indiana Jones Captain Ersatz.
- AVH: Alien Vs. Hunter, which despite its source pulls out a surprising twist ending the hunter aliens are humans...from another planet.
- Atlantic Rim. The monsters attack New York. When it was released on disc in June 2013, its page on Amazon.co.uk had a note saying (approximately) "Were you looking for Pacific Rim? Click here to be notified when the real thing comes out."
- Battle of Los Angeles
- Bone Alone (Home Alone if Kevin McCallister was a dog)
- The Day The Earth Stopped — Notable for prompting Fox to threaten to take legal action, though said threat wasn't carried out
- Death Racers (whose cover art also bears a strong Death Proof influence), note that Violent J of the Insane Clown Posse who stars in it said that this movie is "the bootleg ripoff fake version" of Death Racers at the 2008 Gathering of the Juggalos. Interestingly, it is a ripoff of a remake, but is closer to the original than said remake.
- The Asylum were given a court order preventing them releasing The Age of Hobbits three days before The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. How did they think they'd get away with that, when "Hobbit" is a trademark of the Tolkien estate? Because "Hobbits" in their title refers to Homo floresiensis, obviously.
- I Am Omega, which even also bills itself as an adaptation of the book I Am Legend. Their choice of "Omega" is interesting because The Omega Man was the title of a previous film adaptation of I Am Legend.
- King of the Lost World, which claimed to be based on Arthur Conan Doyle's book The Lost World, but was a clear King Kong ripoff. In fact, the cover art even went so far as to point out that Doyle's book inspired King Kong (which is true, but hardly justifies such ridiculousness). It also says that the "story" it's based on inspired Jurassic Park!
- There's an adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' "The Land that Time Forgot" released just in time to counter the Land of the Lost movie.
- A modern adaptation of Moby-Dick. Ahab (Barry Bostwick) is a Navy captain who repurposes his high-tech submarine to track down Moby Dick, here a prehistoric whale the size of an aircraft carrier, after it took his leg decades ago. Despite being made by The Asylum, it's not half-bad and features many references to the original story.
- Paranormal Entity. It's sequal 8213: GACY HOUSE is apparently some kind of Paranormal Activity 2 rip-off. It was actually released in the UK as Paranormal Entity 2 (though it's more likely that it was due to the John Wayne Gacy case not being as well known outside the US).
- Pirates of Treasure Island. "We're not stealing from Disney; they're stealing from Stevenson!"
- Princess Of Mars. Made it out while the legitimate adaptation was still stuck in Development Hell. Comes from The Asylum, which gives away the intention. May be a mockbuster of Avatar instead based on the promotional material. Starring Traci Lords in the title role.
- Sherlock Holmes (Asylum) can use the name since he's a Public Domain Character. With Gareth David-Lloyd who played Ianto in Torchwood as Dr. Watson. Holmes investigates a case with tentacle monsters, androids, dinosaurs, and robot dragons setting fire to Parliament. Attempts Rule of Cool to the twenty-third power. Also of note; despite using a character whose entire works are available for free online, they apparently couldn't even be bothered to spend five minutes skimming the Wikipedia article; in this film, Sherlock's name isn't actually Sherlock, his brother's name is not Mycroft, the brother worked as a detective alongside Lestrade instead of founding the Diogenes Club...
- Snakes On A Train. Incidentally, that one did provoke a lawsuit.
- Sunday School Musical
- Universal Soldiers (note the plural)
- The Terminators (Again, note the plural).
- Titanic 2. It's not a sequel to Titanic, though, but a new film about a totally different ship called the Titanic 2.
- Transmorphers and Transmorphers: Fall of Man. Although the funny thing about this is that the Transmorphers movies are Terminator ripoffs with a Transformers-sounding name. In fact, it blatantly steals elements from the Transformers films (the robots do transform, albeit badly & slowly & they are extraterrestrial in origin), The Matrix trilogy (insofar as fashion) and the Terminator films (particularly Salvation). Trifecta! For the toys, there is Beast Tech Fighter, Quick Change, etc.
- Following The Asylum's footsteps is TomCat Films LLC which includes a major numbers of mockbusters amongst few others that makes The Asylum look like 20th Century Fox by comparison, this includes...
- Metal Man, aka Iron Hero, which is a mockbuster of the first Iron Man film but features bad characterization, dodgy special effects and suits and even Reggie Bannister of Phantasm fame who is not only the creator of the Metal Man suit but comes off as an asshole and dickish mentor to the hero of the movie. See Film Brain and Obscurus Lupa tear this movie apart.
- The Amazing Bulk, notable for having mundane settings such as alleyways and house interiors represented as cheap greenscreen/CGI and a climactic chase scene primarily consisting of The Bulk running through badly rendered stock CG settings with random CG figures such as koalas, Robin Hood and kids playing soccer to several lizards working on laptops. It was also skewered by Obscurus Lupa in one of her funniest videos yet. (Trailer can seen here.)
- Aliens vs Avatars, aka Aliens vs Aliens
- Thunderstorm: Return Of Thor, while it cashes in on Thor, the company reveals that the character is loosely based on the public domain counterpart seen in Fox Syndicate.
- Avenging Force: The Scarab and Rise of the Black Bat are the other two superhero movies loosely based on their public domain comic characters while cashing in to other superhero movies, notably The Dark Knight Saga.
- Twilight Hunters
- Star Quest: The Odyssey aka Space Trek
- Bruno Mattei, the director of the aforementioned Mockbuster, also directed Jaws 5: Cruel Jaws. For an extensive look into Mattei's films, check out The Bruno Mattei Show, in which Brad Jones discusses the man's filmography with Ed Glaser, Noah Antwiler and other friends. It's quite insightful into how a mockbuster comes to be. For that matter, Bruno's career consisted almost entirely of Nazisploitation and Mockbusters, though these were never mutually exclusive. It's almost too bad he's dead - his ripoff of Inglourious Basterds would be... something.
- Later in 2010, Eric Parkinson, who used to be president of Hemdale (which also made the first Terminator movie), tried to make a cheap CGI animated spin-off of the franchise called Terminator 3000, but production on that movie is being halted due to a cease-and-detest letter he received from Pacificor, the owner of the Terminator franchise rights. However, Eric has spoken that he kept the animation rights to the franchise under Hemdale when he sold the live-action sequel rights to Carolco in 1990, and that he took those rights with him when Hemdale closed down.
- Back in 1990, there was Terminator II. Which was actually released before the official sequel. Humorously enough, Terminator II is actually a remake of Aliens.
- The War of the Worlds (the title is public domain now)
- The War of the Worlds actually got two mockbusters to go with the Spielberg film. One of which apparently actually follows the book and sets the invasion in Victorian Britain. (That will be because the original story by HG Wells was set in Victorian Britain).
- After the Ju-on franchise had two Direct-to-Video features, two theatrical movies, and an American remake on the way, Ju-Rei came along to copy it as an even cheaper DTV version than the first two were.
- Certain Mystery Science Theater 3000-featured films such as the Conan-inspired Ator series, Escape 2000 (in which people try to Leave the Bronx instead of Escaping from New York), Mad Max-alikes Warrior of the Lost World and City Limits , Japanese Planet of the Apes clone Time of the Apes, Hobgoblins (not Gremlins), and Pod People (whose name invokes Invasion of the Body Snatchers, while the aliens look like Alf and the plot is ripped right out of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.)
- Everything ever made by Branscome International. Keep 'em coming, we're not going anywhere.
- Alien 3000 for Alien
- Sexual themed indonesian movies in general.
- Italians also made the Star Wars ripoff Starcrash. Which somehow had John Barry's music, and starred Christopher Plummer - and David Hasselhoff!
- Starcrash may be more (in)famous, but The Humanoid beats it for sheer plagiarism. Whenever possible, props and costumes (and even entire scenes) are copied wholesale from A New Hope, to the point that Starcrash seems completely original in comparison.
- A number of Bruno Mattei's films. The best known are:
- Terminator II, as stated above (It's actually more of an Aliens ripoff.)
- Robowar with Reb Brown
- Jaws 5 ( Fourteen More to Go), ripping it off almost word for word
- Hell of the Living Dead, not content with trying to shoe horn this movie into Romero lore, Bruno Mattei lifted much of the soundtrack from Dawn of the Dead, as well as Contamination (which was a rip of Alien) to score this. Even the uniforms are similar to those in Dawn.
- High School Musical: Sunday School, which is also a blatant rip-off of Sunday School Musical.
- After Impact.
- This was a big problem in Italy during the Spaghetti Western craze of the Sixties. The relaxed copyright law in Italy at the time meant as soon as a character got popular, knockoff movies would appear seeming to star that character. Django, Sabata and Sartana were famous for having their names recycled in knockoffs. (They couldn't do this to the most popular Spaghetti Western character ever, for reasons which are quite obvious if you think about it a little, but it didn't stop one film claiming to be "The Return of Clint the Stranger".)
- Actually, the so-called "Man With No Name" is named in each film, only it's different each time (Joe, Manco and Blondie, in order).
- While Curse of the Ring doesn't have anything to do with the Lord of the Rings movies, and is in fact originally called Ring of the Nibelungs - the plot being based off of the Sigfried/Brunhilde/Fafnir saga - the movie's marketing and even logo font really, REALLY tries hard to be mistaken for a Lord of the Rings movie.
- The Executioner Part 2 — no Executioner Part 1.
- Almost everything released by Video Asia, the masters of In Name Only Sequels. One of the worst offenders, they don't even make their own mockbusters: they just rerelease old foreign movies with different titles.
- Mac and Me, a 1988 movie that badly rips off E.T., and is basically an 80-minute-long commercial for McDonald's, Coke, and some other stuff.note
- The Man Who Saves the World and many other Turkish ripoffs of then-popular movies.
- There were at least two Indian Superman films produced, complete with musical numbers.
- The Real King's Speech, notable for injecting irony straight into the veins of the audience.
- Gargantua, a 1998 TV-movie cashing on the then-recent Godzilla.
- Somewhat unfairly, the original Battlestar Galactica movie was accused early on of being a rip off of Star Wars - presumably on the basis that after Star Wars debuted, ANY movie set in space was ripping off Star Wars. Legal action was even mooted - but sensibly quickly dropped when it became clear that a setting in space was really the only obvious link between the two.
- Lady Terminator—basically the same as its namesake, but instead of an android, it's an archaeologist possessed by the Queen of the South Sea. Other than that, according to The Cinema Snob, if you haven't seen Terminator, but you've seen Lady Terminator, you've seen Terminator.
- Cowboys and Aliens was ripped off by Cowboys And Vampires and Cowboys And Zombies.
- Bloody Murder◊, which is about a group of young people hired to fix up and act as the counselors of a secluded summer camp with a dark past involving a drowned boy. Unfortunately for them, a maniac adorned in a hockey mask starts knocking them off. Sound familiar? There was even a character named Jason. When he disappears, we get several scenes of people asking "Where's Jason?" or "Have you seen Jason?"
- 1981 saw the release of Srigala, an Indonesian rip-off of Friday the 13th which went as far as doing a shot-for-shot recreation of the infamous ending scare.
- Chihuahua: The Movie was audacious enough to admit that it's a film for those who like Beverly Hills Chihuahua.
- 3 Dev Adam (Three Big Men) is a notorious 1973 Turkish film featuring three famous (and extremely unauthorized) superhero characters: Captain America, Spider-Man, and El Santo. Spidey, of all people, is actually the sadistic villain of the piece.
- Seen on (where else?) SyFy, TrueBloodthirst.
- Before Dreamworks released Shark Tale in 2004, they had copied Disney before in 2002 with their own version of Inspector Gadget called The Tuxedo.
- The Godfrey Ho Ninja Movies are this for the ninja movie craze that existed at the time.
- Subverted with Boy Eats Girl; it was never intended to be a Scary Movie mockbuster, but its Scandinavian title, Scary Video 5, gives the impression of this (four Scary Movie movies had been made at the time when Boy Eats Girl went on video).
- Poseidon Rex, a monster film featuring an amphibious dinosaur that threatens the human race. It had already been on DVD since October 2013, but it was given a special theatrical release in April 2014 to get some more publicity in the wake of the hype surrounding Godzilla (2014).
- The Devil Within Her's plot is very similar to Rosemary's Baby, and one of its alternate titles was called Sharon's Baby.
Live Action TV
- The Hamas made kid's show Tomorrow's Pioneers features characters who are blatant ripoffs of American cartoons, though said characters are given radical Islamist twists by the writers.
- Belarus' state-owned television station briefly produced and ran a sitcom called The Theorists which was about a group of nerdy physicists who befriend their attractive female neighbor. Yes, it was an unauthorized copy of The Big Bang Theory. CBS and Warner Bros. had actually begun legal proceedings when the cast and producers of The Theorists discovered their show was a ripoff note and quit en masse, forcing its cancellation.
- A Chinese quiz show copied the visuals of the German show TV total and its segment Blamieren oder kassieren, merely spicing them up a bit with stuff such as wacky animal mascots. TVT's hosts called it out, then in turn jokingly stole the additions.
- "Did You Know Gaming" is a Tumblr blog featuring little-known facts about video games. "Did Yuo Know Gaming" is a Tumblr blog featuring humorous, false facts about video games.
- The Tumblr "Imagine Your OTP" lists romantic scenarios for shippers to insert their favorite pairings into. Similarly to the above example, a simple typo reversing two letters gets you to the parody blog. "Imagine Yuor" OTP lists twisted, overly violent, or just plain bizarre situations that only a troll shipper would want to imagine. The blog still manages to get asks from users who confused it with the original and wonder why a romantic shipping blog would post such creepy scenarios.
- There are definitely many expies of the Angry Video Game Nerd, but the only one that probably could qualify as a mockbuster is Isvaffel, mainly because his earlier videos from 2009 showed Angry Video Game Nerd in the title and because he still remained that title in his intro.
- Since the source novel is in the public domain, musical versions of The Phantom of the Opera ran rampant in the 1990s (regional tours, community theaters, etc.) to cash in on Andrew Lloyd Webber's adaptation — enough so that Time magazine did a whole article on the phenomenon. But not all of them qualified as this trope: Ken Hill's version was the one that inspired Lloyd Webber to take his own stab at the story in the first place, and Maury Yeston and Arthur Kopit's Phantom was actually written around the same time as Lloyd Webber's but couldn't get produced until afterwards due to the competition. One of the mockbusters was videotaped and later released on DVD, and the Phantom Reviewer took it on.
- Similarly, a few stage musical versions of The Hunchback of Notre Dame appeared around 1996, perhaps hoping to compete with a Screen-to-Stage Adaptation of the Disney movie, which was considered likely in the wake of Beauty and the Beast. Disney's version had a successful Screen-to-Stage Adaptation in Germany in 1999 but has not been staged elsewhere.
- Cirque Productions and Le Grand Cirque are companies that are this to Cirque du Soleil (seriously, compare the websites), to the point that the former was sued for using "Cirque" in their name; it didn't work since that's just the French word for "circus". Judging from reviews at Ticketmaster's website, the former's shows have successfully tricked ticket buyers who didn't do the research and thought they saw an actual CDS show. It doesn't help that until 2006 CDS tours only visited major cities, and thus knockoff troupes could make hay by visiting places that weren't. Alternatively, knockoffs often have extended runs in casino-heavy towns like Atlantic City and Reno as opposed to Las Vegas, where the real deal has put down roots.
- If a popular fairy or folk tale gets adapted into a Disney Animated Canon film, expect a knockoff stage version to tour the children's theater/school group circuit soon after, and perhaps be available to community theaters after that. The Enchantment of Beauty and the Beast is a good example.
- The album of Jesus Christ Superstar was released before the theatre show or movie were, resulting in multiple adaptations touring the stages before the official release.
- The company Gameloft applies a similar concept to video games, where they release shameless copies of well-known franchises (usually on cellphones); the difference here is that their games are usually quite well-made (although some of them, most notably the Mac OS X and 3DS ports of Gangstar: Miami and Asphalt, respectively, were met with negative reception, being that they were lazily ported especially Gangstar, having outdated graphics compared to the the ones they were imitating). One of their more interesting examples is Shrek Kart, which copies Mario Kart but replaces the cast of well-known characters with a different cast of well-known characters rather than a bunch of Captain Ersatz's (unlike with most of their games).
- Another thing that makes Gameloft less of a negative thing than other examples on this page: almost all of the games they copy have not yet been released on cellphones/iOS, so they serve a positive role in bringing the genre to mobiles, instead of just competing with better alternatives. Being a subsidary of Ubisoft they're able to use their licenses such as Assassin's Creed and Brothers in Arms, to make mobile/iOS games as well.
- An even more interesting example: their clone of the Batman Arkham Series. Wait for it... it's The Dark Knight Rises licensed game. So they just copied Batman using a different incarnation of Batman.
- There is a webgame called Chick'n Bash. It's especially odd because there are plenty of other webgames in the "smash the tower" genre that have vastly different aesthetics from Angry Birds.
- There's a similar one called Chicks'n'Vixens.
- On the non-avian side, there's Angry Bunnies.
- An app known as "Hedgehog Dash" was released in 2013. A very blatant Sonic the Hedgehog rip-off. The logo for it was basically identical to the Sonic Dash logo. It disappeared just as soon as it came, without obscure reason.
- Final Combat, the Chinese Team Fortress 2.
- In the same vein, Xuan Dou Zhi Wang is the Chinese interpretation of The King of Fighters (but at least you can say the people making it genuinely like KOF because the gameplay isn't all that bad).
- The situation has now gone meta with the addition of actual KOF characters (Terry Bogard and Benimaru) under license.
- Many of the unlicensed NES games made by Taiwanese company Sachen fit this category:
- Several console rip-offs, such as Funstation and Vii, have been made.
- There's Pirates: Legend Of The Black Buccaneer, which came out for the PS2 on the heels of the success of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
- A significant portion of the indie games one can find on Xbox Live Marketplace turn out to be rip-offs of popular games, past and present, including a particularly cheap Minecraft clone titled CastleMiner that even got a zombie-oriented sequel less than four months after its release.
- The Chinese PC game Duludubi Star is a blatant knockoff of Super Mario Galaxy.
- Smartphone app 3D Cartoon Land: Safari, a transparent and horrendous imitation of Super Mario 3D Land.
- In December of 2012, Hammerpoint Interactive (In which a member of them, Sergey Titov, worked on Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing) released a ridiculously poorly made MMO clone of the famous zombie mod DayZ, creatively titled The War Z (Now titled Infestation: Survivor Stories). Let's just say that many, many gamers are not amused.
- It was SO broken, and the advertising was filled with so many lies, that it actually was taken off of Steam, and Valve offered a refundnote .
- It gets better. Six months development time (despite Hammerpoint insisting otherwise), the developers effectively banning people at random in an inane attempt to get rid of hackers, among other things, and a month before "release", their trademark over the game's name was taken away from them because of Paramount, who had their own trademark for an intended World War Z game, and "The War Z" was obviously way too similar. Naturally, the response from Hammerpoint is to claim this is not the case, despite all evidence against them, until suddenly complying and changing the name as above.
- Unearthed: Trail of Ibn Battuta appears at first to be just another Action Adventure game, but playing it reveals to have aped a lot of more popular games, with the Uncharted series being the main target.
- That Hunchback had already been converted to the Amstrad CPC didn't stop Blaby Computer Games from releasing The Bells, which had the same premise and similar gameplay but painfully bad programming.
- Taomee had made blatant knockoffs of popular browser online games like ''Boke'' and ''Magic Monster'',the former is a knockoff of Poptropica and the latter is a knockoff of Moshi Monsters.
- Q Kitty Garden appears to be a knockoff of Mushroom Garden in the garden part.
- One of the oldest examples in video games is Crazy Kong, a knockoff of Donkey Kong with original programming. Surprisingly, this seems to have been the authorized arcade version of Donkey Kong in some parts of the world.
- Mega Man actually managed to do this with another Mega Man game, with the DOS version of Mega Man 3, which is a completely different - and inferior - game to the NES Mega Man 3, made by a different company. Not only was the game titled such to cash in on the original (to the point that there is no DOS Mega Man 2; they completely skipped over it,) but they invented a robot master that looks like the robot on the original cover (who is Spark Man in the NES game) to justify using the exact same cover.
- Harcourt's Mega Math Edutainment Game series was a Mockbuster of Edmark's Mighty Math series. Not only did the two cover the same topics, many of the activities were very similar (e.g. using fiery explosions to teach fractions, using buried treasure to teach the number line), both had the Grow Slide feature, and the logos for each series had the same font! Ironically, after a series of buyouts both series are currently owned by Houghton Mifflin (though only the Mighty Math series continues to be sold by them as it was the original).
- No-one actually owns the Tycoon trademark, so for every good tycoon game like RollerCoaster Tycoon there are dozens, if not hundreds of no-budget knockoffs pumped out to capitalize on the name.
- Titus Software, in their early years, produced the Classiques series of games for the Amstrad CPC and other then-popular computers. These releases consisted of compilations of generic knockoffs of famous Arcade Games.
- The unlicensed Sega Genesis game Adventurous Boy is a Chinese knockoff of Fantasy Zone.
- The BBC Micro had a whole ton of rip-off clones of popular arcade games of the time, many of them produced by Acornsoft itself. So instead of Galaga we got Zalaga, Frogger became Hopper, Asteroids became Meteors, Space Invaders became Super Invaders, Donkey Kong became (the less similar-sounding) Killer Gorilla and so on.
- The Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, the Sinclair ZX Spectrum and the Dragon 32 also used to have lots of knock-offs during the early times of their lifespan. Eventually programmers could not hide themselves behind clones anymore as some mighty companies like Ocean Software bought the actual arcade rights to convert the games themselves and were actually striving to remove knock-offs from the shelves so they started creating their own original ideas.
- Fit of Fighting and History of Martial Arts were ripoffs of Art of Fighting and Fighter's History with plagiarized graphics but a completely different engine.
- There was once a video game company known as Phoenix Games, which hilariously touted itself as "The only European super budget publisher". The quality of their games implies that their definition of "super budget" is very different from the usual. Many of their games are obviously trying to pass themselves off as video game adaptations of well-known Disney cartoons, including beloved classics like Snow White And The Seven Clever Boys, Lion And The King 3, Mighty Mulan, and the now infamous Dalmatians 3.
- The Arcade Game Puckman Pockimon is essentially a Pac-Man clone where the second player can control an Off Model Pikachu head. The game's hardware, apparently manufactured by Chinese Sega Genesis bootleggers, was also used for Jue Zhan Tian Huang, a bizarre, poorly-programmed remake of Street Fighter II as a Beat 'em Up.
- The Amanda Show parodied this in a recurring sketch. People were returning movies they got from a movie store that were knockoffs of whatever they really wanted, created by a family of foreigners (which they always contend is "MUCH BETTER!"). The icing on the cake is that the store itself was a knock-off of Blockbuster, "Blockblister".
- Be Kind Rewind is about a pair of video store owners who make their own mockbusters after all their tapes are destroyed, and become a massive success after their remakes grow wildly popular. Accusations of copyright infringement cause the store to be closed down.
- Tanaka Bros Game Development does this with all their releases. Including Bad Mileage and Pocket Morons.
- MAD has been known to make parodies of these such as Home School Musical.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus made fun of Mockbusters well before they were even a phenomena, with the Mr. Dibley sketch , about a filmmaker who makes hideously bad, silent, one-reel versions of famous movies starring random people from shops.
"Oh yes, well, I mean, there were some people who said my film 2001 - A Space Odyssey
was similar to Stanley Kubrick
's. I mean, that's the sort of petty critical niggling that's dogged my career. It makes me sick. I mean, as soon as I'd made Midnight Cowboy
with the vicar as Ratso Rizzo, John Schlesinger rushes out his version, and gets it premiered while mine's still at the chemist's."
- Homestar Runner parodies this in the SBEmail unlicensed, with titles like "The Secret Princess and Her Oppressive Authority Figure 4" or "Jungle Animals in Decidedly Non-Jungle Situations".
- Referenced in The Amazing World of Gumball, as Gumball complains they can only afford movies like "How to Ratatwang Your Panda". It's a parody of Brinquedo in particular; the mice even resemble those of Ratatoing. This became Hilarious in Hindsight when it came to light that a Chinese food company had produced a knockoff of the show itself, swapping the Wattersons for goats (goat's milk is what's being advertised) and Darwin for a frog.
- An episode of My Name Is Earl revealed the Camden County Library is so underfunded that it can only afford knock-offs of literary classics. Not-Tarzan apparently features a tiger named Monkey.
- The Simpsons had a $1,000 version of Titanic by Roger Corman. It had Special Effects Failure, gratuitous nudity, and the ship resurfacing as some kind of monster.
- On In Living Color!, this is the stock-in-trade of Funky Finger Productions, which is always looking for investors. Stank Ho was their answer to Pretty Woman, and they had test footage for a fourth Penitentiary movie on hand in another skit. Many have an X Meets Y twist: The Wiz meets Flatliners, for instance.
- In his Guardian column in 1998, Simon Hoggart commented that the Channel Five listings were all for "films that sound familiar but you haven't quite heard of" such as Total Weaponry and Deadly Attraction.