Though it's remarkable that this sort of thing keeps happening in Hollywood, keeps happening it does. There are plenty of examples of movies tackling the same subjects brought out within months of each other.
Let battle commence...
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Deep Impact vs. Armageddon (Credit: Rex)
Deep Impact Vs. Armageddon
'Deep Impact' and 'Armageddon' were released three months apart, with the former helmed by respected TV director Mimi Leder, and the latter by the baron of bombast himself, Michael Bay. The plots were hugely similar, incorporating a team being charged with tackling a meteor that threatens the Earth with extinction. Bay's was, predictably, a macho cornball the size of the meteor he sought to destroy, with swaggering performances from Willis, Affleck and, oddly, Buscemi. But nonetheless it turned in over $550 million. 'Deep Impact' cost not much more that half the amount of 'Armageddon', and with a female star (Tea Leoni, with support from Robert Duvall and Morgan Freeman) it did pretty well too, coining nearly $350 million. There was clearly room for both.
Dante's Peak Vs. Volcano
One was February, 1997 (Dante), one was April 1997 (Volcano). Both were about volcanos. In the red corner for 'Dante's Peak' was Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton, facing off against Tommy Lee Jones and Anne Heche for 'Volcano' in the blue corner. One had the ambition – ‘Volcano’, which sought to destroy the entire city of Los Angeles – while the other concerns the more likely scenario of a once-dormant volcano threatening a small town. Strangely, the down-home tale cost more at $116 million, but won the box office battle, hauling in $178 million to 'Volcano's $122 million, though neither, ahem, set the world alight. 'Dante's Peak' was largely thought to be the better film, however.
A Bug's Life vs. Antz (Credit: Rex)
A Bug's Life Vs. Antz
This clash of animation titans Dreamworks and Pixar happened in 1998, scarcely a month apart, both films insect-based, and both with an all-star voice cast. Dreamworks' 'Antz' boasted Woody Allen, Dan Aykroyd, Anne Bancroft, Christopher Walken, Gene Hackman and Sylvester Stallone, while Pixar's 'A Bug's Life' featured the less impressive ensemble Kevin Spacey, Julia Louise-Dreyfus, David Hyde Pierce and Dave Foley. Both were critically lauded, but Pixar made more cash, raking in $163 million, showing that even with the best voice-cast, you're not beating Disney without a fight. Plus the two plots were easily different enough to merit their own existence.