Movies with the Same Title

I've been fascinated by the recent legal dispute between Warner Bros. and the Weinstein Co. over the title of the movie The Butler, scheduled to be released on August 16.  It's the type of story that the general public probably couldn't care less about, but it nonetheless stirs my interest -- and behind-the-scenes, it's serious business.

For those of you who don't know, Warner Bros. filed a complaint with the Motion Picture Association of America against the Weinstein Co.'s upcoming historical film about an African-American who worked in the White House over the years for various Presidents -- the issue at hand is the title, The Butler, which was also the name of a Warner Bros. short film way back in 1916. The MPAA agreed with the complaint and blocked the Weinstein Co. from using the name.  The drama hasn't ended there -- producer Harvey Weinstein has so far refused to change the title or delay the release of his film (directed by Lee Daniels and featuring an all-star cast that includes Forest Whitaker, James Marsden, John Cusack, Robin Williams, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, Liev Schreiber, Minka Kelly, Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Vanessa Redgrave), risking a $25,000 a day fine.

What amazes me is the chutzpah of Weinstein's defiance of an MPAA ruling and the aggressive copyright nitpicking of Warner Bros. over a long forgotten short film from the early part of the last century.  The irony is that Warner Bros. used the same name for its movie in 1916 that the Edison Company used for another short film a year prior in 1915!

The Butler is not the first nor the last flick that has the same title as another film.  Here are a few others. (I'm not counting remakes like Planet of the Apes or adaptations of a prior property such as Lord of the Flies, only movies that are completely different but share the same name. Plus, I'm not counting motion pictures that had slight differences in their titles to avoid confusion, such as The Avengers based on the 1960s secret agent series and Marvel's The Avengers based on the comicbook superheroes.  All clear?  Here we go!)

Bad Boys
One was a drama starring Sean Penn and the other was a buddy cop movie starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence.

Child's Play
One was a thriller directed by Sidney Lumet starring James Mason, Robert Preston, and Beau Bridges and the other was a silly slasher film about a killer doll named Chucky.

Crash
One was a creepy auto-erotic drama directed by David Cronenberg based on a J.G. Ballard novel, starring James Spader and Holly Hunter and the other was a surprise Academy Award winner directed by Paul Haggis with an all-star cast.

Gladiator
One was a boxing flick with James Marshall and Cuba Gooding Jr. and the other was the Ridley Scott sword-and-sandals classic starring Russell Crowe.

Heat
One starred Burt Reynolds, written by William Goldman, and the other was the cops-and-robbers hit with Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Val Kilmer. (The recent buddy-cop comedy The Heat starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy at least added an article to the title to make it different.)

The Kid
One was a Charlie Chaplin silent movie classic and the other was a ho-hum Bruce Willis film.

Men in Black
One was a Three Stooges comedy and the other was a special-effects heavy science fiction franchise starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.

Notorious
One was an Alfred Hitchcock classic with Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman and the other was a biography about rapper Christopher Wallace a.k.a. Notorious B.I.G. a.k.a. Biggie Smalls.

Speed
One was a Jimmy Stewart romantic comedy and the other was the action-packed bus-on-the-run popcorn flick starring Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, and Sandra Bullock.

Twilight
One starred Paul Newman, Gene Hackman, and Susan Sarandon, and the other starred Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson.

Can you think of any others?

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