Have you ever watched a movie for the first time and thought you’ve already seen it? Well, that’s because you probably have. Take No Strings Attached and Friends with Benefits, both released in 2011. The first one is about a guy and girl who try to keep their relationship strictly physical, but it’s not long before they learn that they want something more. The second features a young man and woman who decide to take their friendship to the next level without becoming a couple, but soon discover that adding sex only leads to complications. No wonder you might have flashbacks about the one watching the other.

Recently, movie buff and Twitter user Kris made a thread, highlighting the times Hollywood made almost the exact same movie twice in the same year. To make their point, Kris even created side-by-side comparisons of the posters for those movies. The thread immediately went viral, generating over 232K likes.

Image credits: KrisTosAplSauce

Image credits: KrisTosAplSauce

Image credits: KrisTosAplSauce

Image credits: KrisTosAplSauce

Image credits: KrisTosAplSauce

Image credits: KrisTosAplSauce

Image credits: KrisTosAplSauce

Image credits: KrisTosAplSauce

Image credits: KrisTosAplSauce

Image credits: KrisTosAplSauce

Image credits: KrisTosAplSauce

Image credits: KrisTosAplSauce

Image credits: KrisTosAplSauce

Of course, anyone who says there is a Hollywood movie that doesn’t follow rules and structures is kidding themselves. But there are plenty of universally acclaimed movies that explore similar themes and/or characters yet they don’t feel like the same story. Why?

Story analyst Daniel P. Calvisi says it’s important to make a distinction between formula and form. “A formula would dictate what you write. A form is dictating how you structure it, at what point do you reveal things, at what point should the story keep moving forward and keep flowing rather than stop dead in its tracks or just have an 8-page dialogue scene. So it’s not formula, it’s form,” he said in an interview for Film Courage.

After posting the thread, Kris continued his research and stumbled upon more interesting similarities

Image credits: KrisTosAplSauce

Image credits: KrisTosAplSauce

Calvisi thinks it’s all about how well a movie explores certain themes and characters. So what if someone else has already done it, if movie makers really commit themselves, they will come up with something fresh and original to add. On the other hand, if you take that away, even a well-shot piece might become forgetable. To illustrate, the story analyst turns to Logan. “It was very different from a lot of other superhero films and I think the audience responded because of that,” he said. “There was more character, it was darker, it was more mature but once he starts slashing in those action scenes, I honestly get a little bored. I’ve seen Wolverine slash with his claws in what, 7 or 8 movies by now (maybe more)? So those long extended action scenes and battle scenes and car chases for me don’t impress me so much because I’ve seen them in so many movies.”

So why does this happen? Is it because movie makers aren’t willing to risk their reputation with something bold that might offend someone or get misunderstood? Or have they totally given up on their ambitions and just want to make a sure buck? Or maybe it’s something else? Tell us in the comments below.

Soon, other people started sharing their insights as well

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