Posted on Tuesday, February 26th, 2019 by Rob Hunter
(Welcome to Seeing Double, a series where two strangely similar films released around the same time are put head-to-head. This time, we leave the safety of Earth behind and head towards Mars in search of adventure, the future of the human race, and some intergalactic mediocrity.)
Original movies come out of Hollywood – it’s true! – but much of its output consists of films inspired by previous successes. They’re mostly visible in the form of direct sequels, of course, but they also come from studios trying to mimic a hit in tone, style, and/or genre. Michael Bay’s Armageddon was the second biggest box-office hit of 1998, so it was no real surprise that some similarly themed films went into production soon after.
Disney tried recapturing their own magic with Mission to Mars, while Warner Bros. entered the fray with Red Planet. (Hell, it’s entirely possible that Clint Eastwood’s Space Cowboys got the green light for the same reason.) Both films put movie stars into a rocket and launched them on a mission to the red planet, and they opened exactly eight months apart in 2000. Nobody cared about either one.