Imitation is said to be the sincerest form of flattery. However, it is necessary to know where to draw the line between flattery and flagrant copyright infringement, especially among small movie studios that “imitate” successful blockbusters by “borrowing” their story lines, characters, and footage.
In most cases, a small studio gives its film a title that sounds similar to the original and releases the imitation around the same time as the original. In extreme cases, the small studios market their copycat films as sequels to the original films, leaving viewers confused and the original producers enraged.
Spoiler Alert: We are going to tell you what happens in these movies.
10Queen Kong (1976)
Copycat Of: King Kong (1933)
Queen Kong is a terrible copycat of the 1933 classic King Kong and its 1976 remake. King Kong and Queen Kong have similar story lines except that Queen Kong has an embarrassingly inferior cast, terrible dialogue, and appalling special effects that can lead to eye damage.
In Queen Kong, a female film producer goes to Africa to shoot a movie with an all-female cast that requires one actor. Instead of auditioning someone for the male role, the producer connives with her actresses to kidnap a man called Ray Fay, whom they drug and keep in a sack aboard their ship.
In Africa, they encounter bikini-wearing white ladies who quickly decide to sacrifice Ray Fay to their giant ape queen, Queen Kong. The ladies offer Ray Fay to Queen Kong, but she refuses to send him down her digestive system because she has fallen in love with him.
Queen Kong is shipped to London where she escapes and goes on a rampage. As there is no Empire State Building in London, she climbs Big Ben and fights off some helicopters that look like cheap toys even a five-year-old would not play with.
Ray Fay chooses this moment to deliver a televised speech in which he compares Queen Kong to all oppressed women. Guess he, too, had started falling in love. We learned that he proposed with a giant bra.
9James Batman (1966)
Copycat Of: James Bond (1962–1965) And Batman (1966)
Batman has hard-core fans. This is why the first two Batman movies were made by fans without the authorization of DC Comics. The first Batman movie was Batman Dracula, a live-action film produced in 1964. It should not be confused with Batman Fights Dracula, a similar copycat released in 1967, and The Batman vs. Dracula, the official animated copycat released in 2005.
Batman Dracula was made by artist Andy Warhol, who showed it to private guests and never released it to the public. The plot of the movie is unknown. It used to be lost, at least, until some clips showed up on YouTube. Still, the plot is indecipherable even though it is believed to be a comedy. Warhol’s Batman Dracula was followed by Alyas Batman at Robin (Alias Batman and Robin), which was released in the Philippines in 1965.
The first official Batman movie titled Batman: The Movie was released in 1966. A Batman series aired on television the same year, and both inspired several copycats like The Wild World of Batwoman, which was also released in 1966.
The Wild World of Batwoman stars Batwoman and her Batgirls fighting against Rat Fink, a villain who wants to steal an atomic hearing aid. The director of the film changed the title to She was a Hippy Vampire after legal charges were filed.
1966 also saw the release of James Batman, which was sold in the Philippines. It features the duo of James Bond and Batman, who are called upon to stop a criminal group from annihilating humanity.
James Bond and Batman refuse to work together, and each try to outdo the other to the detriment of their mission. They finally agree to work together after realizing that their rivalry is taking them nowhere.
8Mac And Me (1988)
Copycat Of: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Mac and Me is a shameless copycat of Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Ideally, Mac and Me should not even qualify as a movie but as a 90-minute-long commercial for McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and Mars, Incorporated since its producer took time to carefully place their products throughout the movie.
Even the Mac in the title, which doubles as the name of the lead alien, appears to be derived from McDonald’s even though the producers insist that it means “Mysterious Alien Creature.”
Mac is the youngest of a strange-looking alien family of four who are being hunted by the police after breaking out of a NASA holding facility. He hitches a ride in the vehicle of a widowed woman, Janet, who is moving to her new home with her two sons.
Mysterious things start happening in the house. Radio-controlled cars move around without their batteries, and the television magically switches on without user input. Mac himself takes pleasure in destroying the family’s living room with a chain saw.
One day, Eric, the younger of Janet’s sons, spots the mischievous Mac and follows him. But Eric falls into a lake where he is saved by Mac. Eric tells Janet about Mac, but she thinks he is down with a weird disease called “schizo-freakia.”
So she calls her psychologist friend, Debbie, to check on Eric. He tells Debbie about Mac, and they devise a plan to capture the alien. Mac is injured during the encounter, and Eric and Debbie heal him with a can of Coke.
Eric bonds with Mac and takes him to a McDonald’s outlet where Mac dances on the counter while dressed in a teddy bear costume. Then Eric, Debbie, Courtney (Debbie’s sister), and Mike (Eric’s brother) feed Mac more Coke and Skittles while driving him into the desert to reunite with his family.
Mac’s family is found half dead, but they are revived with cans of Coke. They return to town where the alien family sneaks out of the van to get watermelon and Coke from a gas station.
The police arrive to arrest the aliens, but Mac’s father grabs a gun from a security guard and engages the cops in a shoot-out that ends when the gas station explodes. Eric is killed in the explosion but is brought back to life by Mac’s family.
The 90-minute advertisement ends with the alien family receiving US citizenship. No one bothered to explain where the alien learned to shoot a gun and what happened to the other people who died in the explosion.
7Terminator II (1989)
Sequel To: The Terminator (1984)
Copycat Of: The Terminator And Aliens (1986)
Terminator II is a copycat of two James Cameron films: The Terminator and Aliens. As if that was not enough, Terminator II was released as a sequel to The Terminator a year before the official sequel was released.
To differentiate itself from its shameless rip-off, the official Terminator sequel (aka Terminator 2: Judgment Day) depicts its “two” as the Arabic numeral “2” while its copycat uses the Roman numeral “II.” The copycat also has an alternative title, Shocking Dark.
Terminator II is set in the year 2000 when Venice, Italy, is overrun with humans who have turned into man-eating monsters. Sarah (from The Terminator) is the heroine of the film. She fights and escapes from the monsters alongside a girl, Samantha, who figuratively adopts Sarah as her mother.
Both women escape to the future in a time machine. But they are followed by a machine (The Terminator) which tries to kill them. The Terminator finally gets them cornered but is “defeated” when Sarah throws a device from the time machine at it. The Terminator catches the device and is teleported to a time period known only to the director, Bruno Mattei.
6Legends Of Oz: Dorothy’s Return (2013)
Sequel To: The Wizard Of Oz (1939)
Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return is an animated film based on Dorothy of Oz, a novel authored by Roger Stanton Baum. Roger is the great-grandson of L. Frank Baum, the author of the The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which is the basis for the 1939 movie classic The Wizard of Oz.
In Legends of Oz, Dorothy returns to Oz. She and her new companions—an owl, a doll, a guard, and a talking tree—try to defeat the Jester, the brother of the Wicked Witch of the West. The Jester uses the late witch’s broom and crystal ball to disorganize Oz.
The film was a total flop, earning a mere $ 1.9 million of its over $ 70 million budget. It was funded by an estimated 1,000 investors at a minimum of $ 100,000 each for a share of the profits.
The investors had high expectations for the film. Months before its release, one even bragged on Facebook, telling non-investors that they would be sorry. Most of the investors believe that the bigger Hollywood studios orchestrated the flop because the studios did not want any new competition.
5Snakes On A Train (2006)
Copycat Of: Snakes On A Plane (2006)
Snakes on a Train is a poorly scripted copycat of Snakes on a Plane. It was made by Asylum, a small production company famous for copycatting prospective Hollywood blockbusters and releasing them just before the original films are released. In this case, Snakes on a Train was released three days before the release of Snakes on a Plane.
In Snakes on a Train, Brujo and his girlfriend, Alma, take a train ride to Los Angeles where they are to meet a magician who will cure Alma of a curse that makes her vomit snakes.
The first hour of the film is devoid of action, but things get serious when a huge snake swallows a girl. Then someone has his heart torn out. Two narcotics officers also engage in a shoot-out that continues even after one is shot in the neck and the other is shot in the face.
The film ends with Alma turning into a giant snake that swallows the train and its passengers. Some passengers escape, but the giant snake goes after them until a magician causes it to disappear.
Thereafter, survivors trek to Los Angeles while viewers are left wondering why the magician was only introduced during the scene where he made the snake disappear. However, one of the female survivors is bitten. No one knows if she will become a snake, but we will definitely find out a few days before Snakes on a Plane 2 is to be released.
Copycat Of: Superman (1978)
Superman (1987) is a copycat of the first Superman movie ever made. Superman (1987) was produced and cast by Indians, which is why it is sometimes called Indian Superman even though it was released and marketed as Superman. For clarity, we will call it the Indian Superman henceforth.
The Indian Superman did not just steal the costume of the original Superman. The copycat also stole the original’s story line and footage. The major difference is that the copycat is tailored for an Indian audience.
For instance, Superman’s spaceship did not land in the United States but in India. There, Superman is adopted by an elderly Indian couple who christen him “Shekhar.” He then goes to school where he meets Gita and Verma.
Gita finds work as a news reporter after graduation while Verma becomes a greedy crime lord who wants to destroy part of India and buy the abandoned land. The film follows Shekhar as he tries to stop Verma while keeping his superpowers secret from Gita. Familiar-sounding plot, right?
3The Legend Of The Titanic (1999)
Copycat Of: Titanic (1997)
The Legend of the Titanic is an animated copycat of the James Cameron blockbuster Titanic. Like the classic Titanic, Jack and Rose are present. This time, however, they are represented by a human prince called Don Juan and a lady called Elizabeth, who is being forced to marry a greedy whaler called Maltravers.
Two mice are also aboard. One is Top Connors, which wants Elizabeth and Don Juan together. The other, Ronnie, hopes to get in bed with Elizabeth. Of course, Elizabeth is a human and Ronnie is a mouse but we digress.
Both mice encourage Elizabeth to make her father cancel her marriage to Maltravers. In revenge, Maltravers plots to sink the Titanic and force Elizabeth’s father to sign a document that gives Maltravers whaling rights while the ship is sinking.
Maltravers connives with some sharks to sink the Titanic, but the sharks cannot make it happen themselves. So they deceive an octopus called Tentacles by challenging it to an iceberg-throwing contest to see which of them can sink the Titanic with an iceberg.
Tentacles wins as the sharks expect. But the octopus quickly realizes what is happening and holds the ship together while the passengers are rescued by whales.
The adventure does not end there. It has a sequel, Tentacolino (aka In Search of the Titanic), which was released in 2004. This time, Don Juan and Elizabeth find themselves in the fabled lost city of Atlantis while trying to salvage the Titanic.
There, they help the king protect the city from an army of rats and sharks led by Maltravers. In the film, possibly in response to the rapping dog in Titanic: The Legend Goes On (mentioned in the next entry), a shark called Razorteeth raps while some oysters provide the chorus. Now, here is a copycat copycatting another copycat.
2Titanic: The Legend Goes On (2000)
Copycat Of: Titanic (1997)
Titanic: The Legend Goes On is another animated copycat of James Cameron’s Titanic. Like The Legend of the Titanic, it features talking animals, including mice, cats, and a dog that raps. Unlike The Legend of the Titanic, it “borrows” some characters from Warner Brothers and Disney animated films.
The Italian studio that made Titanic: The Legend Goes On committed a hilarious gaffe by using speakers who weren’t fluent in English. This became obvious when a young mouse that was thanking a dog for saving it from a cat said, “If it hadn’t been for you, I would ‘be’ now in someone else’s ‘digestion.’ ” The dog replied by bursting into a totally unnecessary rap, which is supposed to be the best scene in the film.
As with the original Titanic, Jack and Rose are present. However, their roles are reversed. Jack, who is called William, is the rich one, while Rose, who is called Angelica, is the poor one.
As usual, the Titanic sinks at the end. But this time, all the characters survive. Angelica also finds her real mother aboard the ship and marries Williams.
1Dunyayi Kurtaran Adam (1982)
Copycat Of: Star Wars (1977)
Turkey is home to some scary copycat movies that “borrow” characters, footage, and story lines from successful American movies. Examples are Rampage, Turkey’s equivalent of Rambo; Badi (Buddy), Turkey’s answer to E.T.; and Supermen Donuyor, which stars a Turkish man called Tayfun Demir as Superman.
At other times, producers only take the characters and footage while they create their own story lines. One such film is Uc Dev Adam (Three Giant Men), which sees Captain America team up with a Turkish wrestler to save the world from an evil Spider-Man.
Another is Dunyayi Kurtaran Adam (aka Turkish Star Wars or The Man Who Saved The World). Besides using some characters and footage from Star Wars, Dunyayi Kurtaran Adam also “borrows” music from Raiders of the Lost Ark.Dunyayi Kurtaran Adam was considered lost until the only known surviving copy was recently recovered.
Oliver Taylor is an award-winning bathroom musician. His hobbies include singing inside his bathroom, singing outside his neighbor’s bathroom, and singing about his best friend’s bathroom.