These famous movies copied their plot lines from other films

Words: Josh Rakic
Photo: YouTube/Movieclips

When a movie becomes a box office hit, it’s a good bet you’ll see something with a similar storyline at some point. These movies show how Hollywood plots a guaranteed course to success by sticking with a familiar formula

It seems that some films have taken their premise and storylines from existing movies and repackaged them as something new. But maybe they’re just Hollywood’s attempt at replicating something that worked well the first time around. Take a look at the movies that combined the best elements of both successful and so-so movies to create new box office hits.

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The Hangover and Dude Where’s My Car

© YouTube/20th Century Fox

It made money at the box office on a relatively small US $13m budget, but 2000’s Dude, Where’s My Car was instantly forgettable, even if it has amassed a niche cult following since its release. The movie’s headlining stars, Ashton Kutcher, Sean William Scott and Jennifer Garner, probably hoped people would forget about it. But the film’s screenwriters saw more potential in a storyline that runs along the lines of ’suffer a  black-out and lose something, then search for clues and solve the problem 90 minutes later’. Those two screenwriters are Scott Moore and Jon Lucas and they went on to write a little film called The Hangover, replacing the the car with a groom and the aliens with Mr Chow. Boom.

Road Trip and Overnight Delivery

© YouTube/Paramount Pictures

Todd Phillips directed The Hangover and its sequels, but it was 2000’s Road Trip (featuring Sean William Scott) that Phillips both wrote and directed that made him a name. Like The HangoverRoad Trip’s storyline borrowed significantly from another film – 1998’s Overnight Delivery starring a young Reese Witherspoon and Paul Rudd. Of all the movies, this one’s the most direct rip-off. But it’s also way funnier, with a guy-gets-a-new-girl plot that follows a college couple having a long-distance relationship involving a load of hijinks.

The Fast And The Furious and Point Break

In Point Break, an undercover agent infiltrates a group of a extreme sports athletes who double as criminals and attempts to bring them to justice, only to become one of them. In Fast And The Furious, an undercover agent infiltrates a group of a extreme sports athletes who double as criminals and attempts to bring them to justice, only to become one of them. Swap the surfers for cars and it’s the same movie.

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The Secret Life Of Pets and Toy Story

© YouTube/Illumination

We all know Toy Story. It’s the film that put Pixar on the map and spawned three sequels. It’s the story of the favourite toy, Woody, who’s the leader of the other toys that come to life and get up to hijinks when the owners aren’t around. Then when he’s replaced by a new toy, Buzz Lightyear, he comes up with a scheme to get rid of him, only to get both of them lost, then forced to team up together to get home. Replace toys with pets and you have The Secret Life Of Pets.

Avatar and Dances With Wolves

© YouTube/Hordeman70

A military man volunteers to immerse himself in a native tribe and eventually bonds with them, falls in love with one of the women, and is accepted as a member of the tribe. Only when all seems to be going well, his old life finds him again and the military want to attack his new tribe and force them off their land. He must choose which side he’s on. That description is good for Kevin Costner’s 1990 film, Dances With Wolves, and James Cameron’s 2009 hit, Avatar, only the second has blue aliens and AI.

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