Nowadays, pleasures such as movies and games are costly. An average movie ticket costs about $8 per person in the United States, though usually, it’s worth the price. Movies take time and effort to make, and in the end, a fantastic movie involving a gripping cast and a faithful crew will become iconic in stores and households around the world.
Since it takes time and money to make a great movie, however, some people might be swayed away from going into the film business. The reason being, if a movie garners a poor turnout, profits could be lost, and a producer could be put in the hole. What’s the solution? Other than perfecting the movie-production craft, some people may decide to make a movie with a poor budget and brand it similar to a well-known movie. These movies, known as “Rip-Off Movies,” sometimes hide what they’re supposed to be based on. Other times, they barely change the movie they’re ripping off, making it almost instantly recognizable as a rip-off.
These are 15 of the most blatant movie rip-offs.
15. The Da Vinci Treasure
Dan Brown‘s novel-turned-film The Da Vinci Code revolves around symbologist Robert Langdon and Sophie Nevue as they crack a code by the famous artist in order to find a secret treasure. The series itself is a cult classic, spawning many conspiracy theories and sparking people’s interest in many groups, including the Freemasons.
The Asylum’s The Da Vinci Treasure really isn’t that far off from the original. Forensic Anthropologist Michael Archer searches through the works of Leonardo Da Vinci in order to find the path to “enlightenment.” Despite roughly having the same plot as The Da Vinci Code, both movies came out in the same month. How The Asylum keeps getting away with these knockoffs we will never know.
14. Paranormal Entity
The movie Paranormal Activity is fairly impressive. Not only did it deliver with its shock factor, it did it with a budget of only $15,000 and made $193.4 million at the box office. To put this in perspective, The Friday the 13th movie that came out in the same year had a budget of $19 Million and made $91.3 million! Paranormal Activity is about a couple who move into a house that just so happens to be haunted by a demon.
So if a movie that had a budget of $15,000 did really well, you’d think a knockoff with a similar budget would be almost the same, right? Well, our good friends at The Asylum proved us wrong with Paranormal Entity, a story about a couple moving into a house that just so happens to be haunted by the spirit of a murderer. The movie itself wasn’t scary and was just awful, and yet they managed to make a knockoff for every other movie in the Paranormal Activity series.
13. Metal Man
Iron Man, another of the M.C.U.’s hit movies, is about Tony Stark and his iconic Iron Man suit fighting evil while still acting like a smug rich guy. Now that the iconic suit has starred in at least six movies, it would be hard to confuse it with anything else.
Apparently the creators of Metal Man didn’t think so. If one were to look at the cover of Metal Man, one wouldn’t be wrong saying the suit in it looks very similar to the Iron Man suit because the Metal Man suit is just a bulkier version of the Iron Man suit. In this rip-off, Metal Man must fight off evil ninjas and save the world. No matter what kind of enemy they make Metal Man fight, it’s too obvious that the producers just ripped off Iron Man’s look. How they weren’t sued is beyond anyone’s guess.
One of the biggest movie series of the decade is the Transformer series by Michael Bay. Filled with explosions, crude and cringeworthy jokes, sometimes terrible acting, and more explosions, the Transformers series has made plenty of revenue. And with the upcoming movie The Last Knight, Michael Bay is sure to make another savory profit.
And, of course, our good friends The Asylum publishing studio had to show that they could jump on the giant robot bandwagon. Transmorphers is about robots coming to Earth and forcing humanity underground. Granted, the plot is more along the lines of Terminator, but the similarity in names, giant alien robots, and explosions are clearly taken from Bay’s vision.
11. Tappy Toes
Happy Feet, released in 2006, is about a little penguin called Mumble as he survives the harsh cold and the ridicule for his dancing. This movie stars the likes of Elijah Wood, Hugo Weaving, Hugh Jackman, and the late Brittany Murphy, Robin Williams, and Steve Irwin. The movie won many awards and was also known for the not-so-subtle adult humor throughout.
Renegade Animation, created by former Disney and Warner Bros. animators Darrell Van Citters and Ashley Postlewaite, is recognized for their creations of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi and The Mr. Men Show for Cartoon Network. However, they’re also responsible for the creation of Tappy Toes, which is about a young penguin learning to dance. Although the plot differs from Happy Feet, Tappy Toes is clearly created from aspects of Happy Feet.
10. Chop Kick Panda
Apparently, The Little Panda Fighter wasn’t the only movie to rip-off Kung Fu Panda. Chop Kick Panda not only has a very similar title, but the main panda characters look alike as well, the only exception being that Po is wearing pants and Zibo is not and their poses are different on the box art. Unlike The Little Panda Fighter, Chop really isn’t being subtle. Both Po and Zibo are big fans of martial arts, and the main villain is a big cat in both. This is another creation of Renegade Animation, which, if you remember, made the knockoff Tappy Toes.
9. 3 Dev Adam
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the most successful franchises in the modern movie industry. With the recent release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and upcoming movies, such as Thor: Ragnarok and Spider-Man: Homecoming, it’s apparent that the M.C.U. will only continue to grow.
Though nowadays, people wouldn’t get away with ripping off the M.C.U., a publishing company in Turkey managed to make an unauthorized movie in 1973. 3 Dev Adam (3 Giant Men) is a story where Captain America teams up with Mexican Wrestler Santo to defeat the evil Spider-Man and save the world. As you try to wrap your head around that, make sure to add that Captain America doesn’t even have a shield, has an unnamed girlfriend in the movie, and that Spider-Man has a gang of Spider-Men. Not only that: the Web Slinger himself doesn’t even have his webs! He just uses a knife and gun! Granted, a story of Captain America fighting Spider-Man with the help of a wrestler sounds intriguing, they could’ve at least made it a bit more accurate to the source material.
8. Atlantic Rim
The movie Pacific Rim is a movie about two pilots controlling a giant robot called a “Jaeger” in order to fight giant sea-monsters called “Kaiju.” It might sound cheesy, but the movie did fairly well at the box office. The mockbuster publishing company, The Asylum, obviously found this title easy to make a rip-off from.
So how did The Asylum rip off Pacific Rim? Well, obviously, they changed the ocean. Also, the Jaegers are more colorful than their dull-shaded Jaeger counterparts, and the robots were designed for underwater rescue, not fighting Kaiju. And, of course, at the end, the three heroes celebrate with tequila shots. The Asylum is a company infamous for their rip-offs and parodies, so expect to see them throughout this article.
7. Snakes on a Train
Even the casual movie and T.V. watcher knows of the notorious Snakes on a Plane movie starring Samuel L. Jackson. The movie itself was supposed to be a B-Movie, to begin with, and yet it made just under twice the budget it had to go with. In the movie, snakes are released on a plane (hence the title Snakes on a Plane) in order to kill a trial witness.
So how does one rip-off a movie that wasn’t supposed to be a success? Similar with Atlantic Rim, one element, this time the plane, was replaced with a train. So we have snakes jammed into transpiration with hundreds of people on board. How did the snakes get on the train? A woman was cursed to have the snakes hatch and grow inside her stomach. Yes, they did change the story a bit, but the premise is far from different.
6. What’s Up? Balloon to the Rescue!
The Pixar movie Up features Carl, wilderness explorer Russell, and talking dog Dug during their adventures that revolve around a house being lifted by balloons. It’s a heartwarming tale that talks about acceptance. Up also has one of the saddest Disney/Pixar openings in recent memory.
Video Brinquedo’s creation What’s Up? Balloon to the Rescue! essentially steals the idea of a flying house propelled by balloons. Not to mention, the humor is tasteless and somewhat racist. The animation is also downright awful. Like The Asylum, Video Brinquedo is known for making content that’s blatantly the product of other movie ideas. And this won’t be the only one on this list.
5. The Little Panda Fighter
Kung Fu Panda is about a panda named Po learning to fight so he can take up the mantle of the Dragon Warrior. It’s filled with a lovable characters voiced by the likes of Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu, and many more. Kung Fu Panda spawned several side stories and three sequels that continue Po’s adventures.
The Little Panda Fighter is like Kung Fu Panda’s defective clone. Both star a panda in a story that involves fighting. Also, in each film, the panda wishes to be something different. Both also have a mentor-like figure who doubts the panda (Master Shifu for Po and Polaris for Pancada). The animation is also terrible and the motivations of the characters are strained, making this movie an insult to what it’s ripping off.
4. I Am Omega
Will Smith’s I Am Legend is about Robert Neville developing a cure for a mutation that has left New York City, or even the rest of the world, filled with nocturnal mutants. Neville tries to contact any survivors over radio but ends up getting nowhere.
The Asylum’s movie I Am Omega is an obvious knockoff. Not only are the titles similar, but both take place in a post-apocalyptic United States city where there are mutated humans hunting the main character. The main characters of each movie are believed to be alone and try to contact survivors around the world by means of long-range communication. Also, there are characters in both movies that have the cure to the mutation in their blood. Honestly, if it weren’t for the fact that Will Smith starred as the main character in I Am Legend, you would think both were copies of the same movie.
3. Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies
President Abraham Lincoln, standing at almost 6’4″, was a tall and imposing figure. So naturally, some would put President Lincoln in a role that makes him seem more awesome — like fighting vampires. Hence, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer was born and received decent reviews.
And yet again, The Asylum struck. Basically, all they did was change the vampires into zombies and kept the same ‘Lincoln was a monster-slayer’ plotline. The only difference between this movie and other productions by The Asylum is that this movie was… passable. You could sit through a viewing of it and not feel as if you wasted your money, but this doesn’t change the fact that this is a blatant rip-off.
2. Battle of Los Angeles
On a cold night in February 1942, the sky was filled with spotlights and sirens as the United States Armed Forces fired upon an unknown flying object. Although the object was never found, the event was dubbed as one of the defining moments that made everyone think of life on other planets. In 2011, the movie Battle: Los Angeles was released to the masses. This movie depicted what would happen if aliens really did invade earth.
Now, you would be forgiven if you thought that Battle of Los Angeles was Battle: Los Angeles — mainly because they have the same plot and have nearly identical titles. The difference between these two movies is that one was made by Jonathan Liebesman and the other was made by Mark Atkins of The Asylum.
The Pixar film Ratatouille is about lovable rat Remy helping nervous chef Linguini save a restaurant through the use of great food. It received high acclaim from critics and fans alike.
As with most Pixar films, a rip-off is bound to happen. That’s where Video Brinquedo comes in with their disaster called Ratatoing. Granted, the name is a clever rip-off of Ratatouille, but the same can’t be said for the rest of the film. This disaster is about Marcell Toing trying to save his restaurant. With the name, the fact that the main character (actually most of the characters) are poorly animated rats, and they’re trying to save a restaurant, it’s no wonder that Disney actually sued Video Brinquedo.