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  • Initiators / Followers
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Description
    • Implementation: Implementation


  • Godzilla (1954) / Gamera (1965)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Kaiju smash cities and battle other Kaiju.
    • Implementation: The Godzilla series started in the lead in the "Showa" era with more and better films, but the "Heisei" series for both were a marked change. Despite having only a trilogy, Gamera had the better and more successful films overall when it went into a more realistic, Darker and Edgier direction. It dropped it with its own attempt at a third series, leading to a repeat of the Showa status-quo for the Millennium.

  • Planet of the Apes (1968) / 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: 1968 released films centering around astronauts on bizarre journeys shrouded in a sense of mystery, and both feature heavily made-up "monkey people" in important roles as well.
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    • Implementation: Both are adaptations, one of a novel, the other of a short story, with direct involvement from the author - who would then make a book series out of it.

  • Tentacles (1977) / Orca: The Killer Whale (1977)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Blatant, scientifically dubious Jaws ripoffs with bizarrely elite casts.
    • Implementation: Tentacles is a borderline-incompetent Italian production; the British-made Orca is professionally made but has a plot oddly similar to Jaws The Revenge, which came out a decade later.

  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) / The Black Hole (1979)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Sci-fi films released within two weeks of another in December 1979, which were both mass-market effects extravaganzas, while also clearly attempting for a more cerebral 2001: A Space Odyssey-like approach (Paramount was behind Star Trek and Disney was behind The Black Hole.
    • Implementation: Star Trek: TMP was a big-screen revival of Star Trek: The Original Series, which had been off the air for ten years, while The Black Hole was an original story.
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  • Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) / Flash Gordon (1980)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Cinematic throwbacks to the pulpy space opera serials of the early 20th Century. Whether it be through their influence or as a direct adaptation.
    • Implementation: Notably the creator of the Star Wars franchise George Lucas at one time before making Star Wars did try to secure the rights to make a Flash Gordon movie, but was unsuccessful in being able to attain them.

  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) / The Thing (1982)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: 1982 sci-fi films that center around human and alien encounter that came out less than a month apart.
    • Implementation: Whilst the former is a family friendly adventure film that shows the alien being as friendly, the latter is a horror film that is a much darker take on an alien encounter.

  • Blade Runner (1982) / TRON (1982)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: 1982 high-concept sci-fi films dealing with the idea of artificial intelligence, its relation to their creator, and the metaphysics of consciousness organic or created. Both presented in stunningly realized words created with state of the art special effects.
    • Implementation: The artificial intelligence emerges in Blade Runner in the form of bioengineered androids called replicants while in TRON it is portrayed with anthropomorphized computer programs existing in cyberspace, both of which were made to serve humans.

  • Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983) / Dune (1984)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Sprawling space operas featuring ragtag heroes up against powerful imperialist enemies with a palpable aura of mysticism about the proceedings.
    • Implementation: Dune was the second attempt by producer Dino De Laurentiis to compete with and capitalize off of Star Wars. His first was the previously listed Flash Gordon. Also notably the director of Dune David Lynch had actually been offered the chance to direct Return of the Jedi by George Lucas but chose to decline so he could take on Dune instead.

  • Runaway (1984) / The Terminator (1984)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Both films, released within a month of one another in late 1984, dealt with robotics gone amuck, but to varying degrees. One had robots as household appliances trying to run and the other had robots in the future trying to wipe out the future human leader of La Résistance.
    • Implementation: Terminator was a B-movie, with non-household names and written/directed by an unknown. Runaway starred Tom Selleck (of Magnum, P.I. fame) and Gene Simmons, and was written and directed by accomplished sci-fi author Michael Crichton.

  • 1984 (1984) / ''Brazil (1985)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Dystopian films depicting one everyman struggling against a futuristic government bureaucracy.
    • Implementation: Both are quite similar in theme, but very different in execution. 1984 is a fairly straight adaptation of Orwell's bleak novel, while Brazil'' uses a far more irreverent and satirical take on the same tropes (and lacks a "Big Brother" figure).

  • The Abyss (1989) / DeepStar Six (1989) & Leviathan (1989)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Submarine-based sci-fi thrillers that received wide theatrical releases in 1989. They all feature people trapped in confined spaces, ridiculous aquatic gear, monsters, and tons of water.
    • Implementation: The Abyss was the originator; there was an assumption by other studios that James Cameron's big new project would be Aliens underwater and they acted accordingly. (There were three other knockoffs that mostly saw exposure on video.) DeepStar Six was rushed to reach theaters first.

  • Jurassic Park (1993) / Carnosaur (1993)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: The latter is basically a low-budget clone of the former, with less philosophy and capitalism and more gore and mad scientists, by Roger Corman, the master of movies several grades lower than B.
    • Implementation: This example is mostly notable for the fact that the imitator actually got into theaters first, due to a massively quick shooting schedule. Also, Harry Adam Knight, author of the deliberately trashy novel Carnosaur was based on, has gleefully pointed out that one scene in Jurassic Park occurs in his book, but not Michael Crichton's.

  • Johnny Mnemonic (1995) / The Net (1995) & Virtuosity (1995) & Hackers (1995) & Strange Days (1995)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: All are sci-fi action/thrillers released within 1995, that formed a large wave of films centering around the interconnected ideas of advancing technology, computers, cyberspace, hacking, etc.
    • Implementation:

  • Virtuosity (1995) / Virtual Combat (1995)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: A cop has to pursue a virtual bad guy with whom he previously faced off in Virtual Reality after the villain downloads himself into a physical body to plunge the world into chaos. In both cases, the bad guy uses his experience with the protagonist as an advantage.
    • Implementation: Virtuosity has an All-Star Cast and a higher budget, Virtual Combat has a B-Movie cast and was released straight to video.

  • Independence Day (1996) / The Arrival (1996)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Alien Invasion movies released in the summer of 1996.
    • Implementation: Aside from involving an alien invasion, they are nothing alike. Independence Day was the big-studio action movie with a big budget, big stars, and big promotion. The Arrival was intended to be more of a thoughtful thriller, with only one brand-name star (Charlie Sheen).

  • Independence Day (1996) / Mars Attacks! (1996)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Another competitor to Independence Day.
    • Implementation: Both movies involve big budgets and big stars, and both are remembered fondly — but where Independence Day plays its Disaster Movie tropes straight, Mars Attacks! is a very Black Comedy.

  • Alien: Resurrection (1997) / Deep Rising (1998)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: A rag-tag bunch of pirates/mercenaries, joined by the protagonist(s) and a number of original crew members (including the human villain, who decides later on that now would be the perfect time to back-stab the survivors) try to escape from the bowels of a ship that's hopelessly infested with a group of extremely lethal predators after the former crew has departed/vanished. Both prominently feature an extended underwater action set-piece at some point.
    • Implementation: Deep Rising came out in January 1998, Alien: Resurrection in November 1997. The latter had been in gestation far longer than that, but early script versions differ significantly from the movie that ultimately ended up in theatres. Alien: Resurrection was helmed by French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Deep Rising by Stephen Sommers.

  • Dark City (1998) & The Matrix (1999) / The Thirteenth Floor (1999) & eXistenZ (1999)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Each film centered around reality not being really real and just a simulation in the future, albeit for different reasons and created by different sources.
    • Implementation: Of course, The Matrix was a huge blockbuster, while Thirteenth Floor was viewed as a copy. It's really not, as the two movies have almost nothing in common. The same applies to eXistenZ, but with a generous helping of Body Horror.

  • The Matrix (1999) / Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Campbell-ian mythological sci-fi adventure films released within two months of each other in 1999. Both were the start of a trilogy, centered around the discovery of a prophesized Chosen One, and feature the heroes going up against a machine army.
    • Implementation:



  • Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (2002) / Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: 2002 released sci-fi action films from the two big franchises with Star in the title that are often touted as being rivals of some kind. In terms of story both films deal with a new political player taking power, and the heroes are initially unsure if they can be trusted. (Count Dooku and Shinzon) However, after assassination attempts and investigation, they come into full conflict with them. Notably, the idea of cloning is a major plot element in both films as well.
    • Implementation: Both were parts of the second 'incarnation' of the franchises, namely the prequels and The Next Generation.

  • The Matrix Reloaded & The Matrix Revolutions (2003) / Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: 2003 released sequels to preceding popular sci-fi action films that center around a Christ-like Chosen One having to embrace his destiny to help humanity defeat an oppressive network of machines that rise up and take power.
    • Implementation: Given that the Matrix sequels were filmed at the same time and are so highly linked in terms of story, it only makes sense to group them together here. Interestingly enough though Terminator 3 was released on a date between the two of them.

  • V for Vendetta (2006) / Children of Men (2006)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: 2006 films set in a dystopian England, with society on the brink of collapse.
    • Implementation: V for Vendetta is based on the best-selling graphic novel by Alan Moore.

  • Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008) / Repo Men (2010)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Films about artificial organs and assassins who repossess them if the transplantee fails to make a payment.
    • Implementation: The main difference is that Genetic Opera is a musical while Repo Men is an action film.

  • Delgo (2008) / Avatar (2009)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: CGI sci-fi passion-projects about two ethnic groups of separate species fighting each other and how two of the separate species attempt to stop the fighting and fall in love in the process.
    • Implementation: While both have been in production for years, Delgo did come out first. A lawsuit was even prompted by the makers of Delgo against Avatar.


  • Destination Moon (1950) / Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen (2009) \\ Terminator Salvation (2009)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Both movies are sequels to established sci-fi robot franchises; however, Terminator Salvation departs from the Terminator series' usual formula by mostly concerning itself with giant and/or vehicle-like "non-cyborg" sentient robots, making it closely resemble the Transformers movies.
    • Implementation: With Transformers, the core fanbase was already steeled to expect a Bay film. On the other hand, Salvation did help establish Sam Worthington (Avatar) as an Epic Movie actor just as he was about to quit to take a long vacation in the desert, so make of what you will of that.


  • Battle: Los Angeles (2011) / Skyline (2010)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Aliens attack Los Angeles.
    • Implementation: Battle Los Angeles began production first and focuses solely on the military fighting aliens. Skyline began production after (but got released first) and focuses on the military and regular people fighting aliens.


  • Cowboys & Aliens (2011) / Attack the Block (2011)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: 2011 Genre mash-ups where aliens invade during an American western and a mugging in London, respectively.
    • Implementation: Both opened on the same day and both have fanboy-fave directors involved (Jon Favreau directing Cowboys and Aliens and Edgar Wright producing Attack the Block), but Cowboys and Aliens had a Comic Con presence and an All-Star Cast.

  • Oblivion (2013) / After Earth (2013)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: 2013 movies set on post-diaspora and -apocalypse Earths starring A-list actors (respectively, Tom Cruise and Will Smith). Oblivion opens a couple months earlier.
    • Implementation: Oblivion has the hero finding a long-lost La Résistance (or are they?) on Earth after it was destroyed by aliens; After Earth has the heroes crashing onto the specifically human-hostile and -free planet (apparently one of many), which has been "quarantined" for so long the hero's son doesn't know its name. Both films' heroes are shown with shiny white spacecraft and neat, clean suits exploring the ruins/wilderness.

  • Snowpiercer (2013) / High-Rise (2015)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Humanity goes to pieces in an airtight tube as seen from the POV pf a pair of Marvel Cinematic Universe characters.
    • Implementation: Captain America fights his way from the squalid rear of a Cool Train to the front seat of power to get answers; Loki observes the residents of his tower from his place of privilege near the top, and in both cases the men at the very top/front have their own agendas.

  • Transcendence (2014) / Lucy (2014)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: 2014 sci-fi thrillers about a human who through scientific means has their mind expanded and essentially gain the powers of a god.
    • Implementation: Both films feature Morgan Freeman as a scientist in a major supporting role.


  • Lazer Team (2015) / Pixels (2015)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Four idiots are brought together to fight aliens in order to save the Earth.
    • Implementation: One was a crowdfunded independent release by a web video company. The other a major studio release that tried to get promotion from a web video company, namely the Yogscast - doing so even if Mark "Turps" Turpin declined (as a result, Yogscast, their fans, and even some of their detractors, don't hold the film in high regard).

  • Jupiter Ascending (2015) / Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Grand-scale throwbacks to the space operas of old centering around a young woman who starts out as a nobody who finds herself drawn into a galactic conflict against a corrupt/authoritarian regime where she is proved to be a key part of. Her closest allies turn up in the form of disgraced ex-soldiers, one her age who becomes something of a love-interest and an older mentor-type figure.
    • Implementation: This is the second time that a Wachowski film came out the same year as the opening chapter of a new Star Wars trilogy. The first being the previously listed The Matrix being released closely to The Phantom Menace.

  • Chappie (2015) / Ex Machina (2015)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: 2015 released sci-fi films centering around the creation of a machine with artificial intelligence, and attempts to explore some of that concept's nature.
    • Implementation: One was a major studio release, the other an independent film. Both directors had sci-fi experience, but Chappie was Neill Blomkamp's third movie and Ex Machina the directorial debut of Alex Garland.

  • Star Trek Beyond (2016) / Star Wars: Rogue One (2016)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: The two most iconic space opera franchises face-off in 2016.
    • Implementation: Star Trek was in the third installment of a Continuity Reboot. Star Wars was in its second movie under Disney, and one that actually harkened back to the original movies by being a direct prequel to A New Hope.

  • Rogue One (2016) / Passengers (2016)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Space Opera movies featuring very strong female leads, debuting late 2016. Both movies are rather harder science fictions than usual (or at least Rogue One is harder than most of the rest of the Star Wars franchise).
    • Implementation: Rogue's Jyn Erso has to be strong in the face of an evil empire, Passengers' Aurora Lane has to be strong in the face of learning her companion doomed her to an "early" death simply because he was lonely.

  • Star Trek Beyond (2016) / Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Sequels in high-profile science fiction franchises, released in anniversary years for their respective series (the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, and the 20th anniversary of Independence Day).
    • Implementation: Both films have the protagonists facing off against swarms of aliens in small, highly agile ships, who initially inflict a devastating defeat on the good guys.

  • Alien: Covenant (2017) / Life (2017)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Sci-Fi Horror films where a space crew investigates an unexplored planet, takes a hostile lifeform on board, and are subsequently killed off one by one while trying to prevent the creature from getting to Earth.
    • Implementation: Alien: Covenant is the latest installment in the Long Runner franchise Alien (and from the looks of it, essentially a soft reboot of the first Alien), while Life is based on an original script.


  • Ghost in the Shell (2017) / Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Cyberpunk movies about a cop uncovering a global conspiracy involving a Mega-Corp. The protagonists also grapple with ideas about illusory memories, the blurred line between biological and artificial lifeforms, and the metaphysics of consciousness organic or created.
    • Implementation: The former is based on a Manga, while latter is a sequel to a 1982 movie, which in turn is loosely based on a book.



  • See You Yesterday (2019) / Don't Let Go (2019)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Time-bending thrillers with black leads in which our main character attempts to alter the past to save the life of a recently murdered family member.
    • Implementation: See You Yesterday is a Netflix original produced by Spike Lee in which a young science prodigy creates a time machine and, with her friend, attempts to save her brother from being murdered in the past by a police officer. Don't Let Go is a theatrical film produced by Jason Blum and starring David Oyelowo, in which he plays a homicide detective who learns he can communicate with his murdered daughter in the past through his phone and attempts to help her change her fate. (Additionally, an episode of The Twilight Zone (2019) from the same year also featured a similar premise, in which a mother taking her son to college must use time travel to save him from becoming a victim of police brutality).

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