Indiana JonesSimilar to the markets that over time work on similar plot lines and themes, one of Hollywood's classic formulas for success is to make a movie that has plot lines that were popular and well regarded in previously released very successful films:

"Days of Thunder", starring Tom Cruise, was essentially the same film as another Tom Cruise blockbuster, "Top Gun". Same theme, just change fighter aircraft for race cars. Why didn't they just name Thunder as "Top Car"?

"Cinderella Man", starring Russell Crowe, is essentially the same film as "Rocky", starring Sly Stallone.

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"–perhaps that movie could have been called, "The Curious Case of Forest Gump".

Avatar takes it over the top. Last night I came up with an algorithm for the film: Star Wars + Dances with Wolves + Last of the Mohicans + Terminator + Shrek + Indiana Jones #4 = The biggest grossing film of all time.

Gibbons Burke comments:

Thus it was ever so…

PIXAR used the story of Kurosawa's Seven Samurai for A Bug's Life. Kurosawa did the same thing with Shakespeare plots for many of his movies, eg. Throne of Blood=Macbeth, RAN=King Lear. Shakespeare did the same thing with older stories, (Hamlet is one) which are now mostly forgotten, so thoroughly did the bard eclipse their work.





Speak your mind

1 Comment so far

  1. Steve Leslie on April 29, 2010 8:04 am

    I remember James Lipton interviewed Sylvester Stallone. His question had to do with the theme that Sly uses his underdog vs superior opponent. Sly stated that this is always a conscious decision on his part to have this thread ever pleasant in his writings. And he built a 35 year career out of it.

    Rocky I-VI
    Rambo I-IV soon to be Rambo V
    Paradise Alley
    Over the Top
    Lock up
    Cop Land

    Bruce Willis' career exploded when he crafted his John McClain character in Die Hard. Perhaps he learned this lesson from Charles Bronson

    Steven Segal built a career out of combining terrible acting and martial arts. As did Van Damme following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris.

    Go to Westerns and you will see this theme in such great movies as

    3:10 to Yuma
    High Noon

    "Chick flick" movies always use the same themes

    Horror themes use the classic good vs evil. The greatest example of this is The Exorcist.

    The highest grossing movies year after year are now animated films. One of the reasons is that it crosses multi generational lines. Grandparents go with grandchildren. Parents with their parents and their children. It becomes a total family experience.

    The point is that once you find something that works you continue working it until it does not work anymore and then you find something that does and do that.


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