• “Twin movies” confuse audiences when released too close together, blurring the lines between films and adding to audience confusion.
  • Similar titles can lead to confusion, even if the plots and genres of the films are completely different.
  • Yearly releases of strikingly similar movies show that this phenomenon isn’t going away, with cultural trends and information exchange among Hollywood writers possibly contributing to the similarities.

With so many movies released over the years, some are bound to be so similar that audiences can hardly tell them apart. In some cases, this results from a studio attempting to build on the success of another studio’s successful product. However, these “twin movies,” as the phenomenon is called, are often released too close to one another for either to have influenced the other. This only adds to audience confusion, and the lines between the films become blurred.

In other situations where two movies are frequently confused, it’s simply the unfortunate coincidence of a similar title. The plots of these films, and even their genres, could be completely different, but they become one and the same in audiences’ minds. Both this and the issue with identical plotlines could result from cultural trends or possibly even the casual exchange of information between Hollywood writers. Regardless of the reason, it’s a phenomenon that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, with strikingly similar movies coming out around the same time year after year.

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10 No Strings Attached (2011) & Friends With Benefits (2011)

Split image of No Strings Attached & Friends With Benefits

It’s not uncommon for even the best romantic comedies to follow a similar pot formula, but No Strings Attached and Friends with Benefits took this to another level. Both films are about a man and woman who come to an agreement regarding casual sex. They determined that there would be nothing romantic between them—which obviously means they fell in love in no time. Both released in 2011, the confusion between the two films is taken a step further since an actor from one (Ashton Kutcher) is famously married to one from the other (Mila Kunis).

9 The Circle (2017) & Circle (2015)


Even though The Circle and Circle came out a couple of years apart and have very different plots, their way-too-close titles make them a common mixup. The former, released in 2017, follows a woman as she dives into the nitty gritty of working for a social media platform, and the latter sees a group of prisoners forced to pick the only one among them who deserves to survive. They are both thrillers, in a sense, and explore some interesting hypotheticals, but they really couldn’t be any more different. It doesn’t help that neither film performed very well with critics, so they are even more likely to be considered the same and disregarded.

8 A Bug’s Life (1998) & Antz (1998)

Split image of A Bug's Life & Antz

1998 was apparently the year for CGI-animated insects. Disney’s A Bug’s Life and DreamWorks’ Antz both follow a colony of ants trying to survive in a much bigger world. The protagonists of each, Flik and Z, respectively, are somewhat different from one another—one a clever inventor desperate to prove himself and the other a coward searching for a reason to be brave—but they both ultimately end up saving the day and finding an ant girlfriend. As a Disney film, A Bug’s Life gained a little more notoriety, but it’s not uncommon to find someone who never realized that these were two separate movies.

7 Avatar (2009) & The Last Airbender (2010)

Avatar and The Last Airbender

Avatar and The Last Airbender couldn’t be more drastically different. Sure, they were released within a year of each other, but one was a widely praised blockbuster, while the other was a major disappointment for an entire fandom. Still, it’s easy to get the two mixed up in conversation. This is because The Last Airbender is based on the animated TV series Avatar: The Last Airbender, which was especially confusing while both films were in development. Since the Avatar film is much more widely known, the fans of the other Avatar are likely to become frustrated if someone mistakes them for a Jake Sully fan.

6 Victor/Victoria (1982) & Tootsie (1982)


Victor/Victoria is a movie about a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman—which is confusing enough all on its own. Tootsie, on the other hand, is simply about a man pretending to be a woman. Both central characters (played by Julie Andrews and Dustin Hoffman, respectively) took part in their deceptions because they struggled to secure acting roles as themselves and found they were more successful pretending to be a different gender. It’s a fun and interesting concept, and both became classics in their regard—despite the confusion of being released in the same year.

Flashdance and Footloose

Dance movies were popular in the 1980s, and this is made evident by films like Flashdance and Footloose, which were released within a year of one another. Both plots were rather different, but they were full of fun and iconic dance moments and great music. Though both were successful, it’s not uncommon to hear someone say, “That one chair dance in Footloose!” or “The barn dance from Flashdance,” even though both films certainly didn’t contain similar scenes.

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4 The Prestige (2006) & The Illusionist (2006)

Split image of The Prestige & The Illusionist

There is something a little spooky and—of course—magical about Edwardian-era magicians. This concept was central to both The Prestige and The Illusionist, which saw characters do unbelievable magic on stage to an old-timey audience. Both also included deadly rivalries. In The Prestige, two magicians pushed the limits to a disturbing degree to outshine one another. In The Illusionist, a clever artist sought to use his stage show to spirit away the girl he loved from an abusive royal. In all, both were great movies with unique ideas, but on the surface, they don’t look much different.

3 Deep Impact (1998) & Armageddon (1998)

Deep Impact and Armageddon

The 1990s were full of movies about the end of the world. This likely had a lot to do with Y2K, the rollover into the 2000s, which many believed would be catastrophic for society. As if this idea wasn’t scary enough, Hollywood decided to produce two very similar movies about an asteroid heading straight for Earth. Deep Impact and Armageddon both saw a crew of ragtag heroes sent into space to stop the massive rock from destroying the planet. Each had its own methods and reasons, but the plot was sometimes too similar to tell apart.

2 Striptease (1996) & Showgirls (1995)


Striptease and Showgirls, released a year apart, both peeked into the world of strip clubs and held little back in the way of criticism. Still, the plots were built on two fairly unique foundations. In Striptease, the main character was forced to do what it would take to bring in a steady income for her child, and the strip club wound up being her best option. In Showgirls, the protagonist had always dreamed of her big moment on stage and was much less ashamed of the world of nude entertainment. Regardless, the close proximity in which they were released and the similar titles make these films challenging to keep straight.

1 Rise of the Guardians (2012) & Legends of the Guardians (2010)


The 2010s saw the release of Rise of the Guardians and Legends of the Guardians—two very different films with unfortunately similar titles. The former told the story of Jack Frost and other legendary “guardians” of childhood—Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and the Sand Man. Legends of the Guardians, on the other hand, was based on a popular children’s book series about a society of magical owls. Both films were whimsical and aimed at child audiences, but that’s where the similarities end. Had they had different titles, these movies likely wouldn’t have been so easy to mix up.

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