Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn raised the question of what constitutes a knock off earlier this month when he threw some shade at a poster for 7 Guardians of the Tomb. The poster for the Kelsey Grammer-starring Chinese-Australian adventure film uses a similar font and design as the promotional materials for the Marvel franchise (in addition to sharing the word “guardians,” of course). Although the movie itself doesn’t seem to have much in common with Gunn’s films, the distributors of Tomb, which premieres in limited release this month are probably hoping some of the Galaxy box office success will rub off on them, too.
Legally speaking, the question of what constitutes plagiarism isn’t always as clear-cut as you might think, so not all of the movies on this list are examples of copyright infringement. Nevertheless, all of the movies on this list were either made with the hope of cashing in on the popularity of another movie, or straight-up stole a good chunk of their plot from another film.
Here are 15 knock offs that took ideas from better movies.
Mac and Me – ET: The Extra-Terrestrial
In 1982, a creepy-looking little alien landed on Earth and charmed the world with his taste for Reese’s Pieces and a strong desire to “go home.” Six years later, a film called Mac and Me decided to tell a similar story, but this time with sponsorship from McDonald’s. To be fair, producer RJ Louis actually wanted the film to benefit The Ronald McDonald House Charities, which is why he lobbied hard for McDonald’s to be involved in the film.
Unfortunately, the movie looked more like an advertisement for McDonald’s itself when it came out in 1988, possibly due to the jaw-dropping, Ronald McDonald-featuring musical dance number set inside a McDonald’s. Since then, the film has earned cult following, counting Paul Rudd as on of its most visible fans.
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