Lockout – Escape from New York
In the 1982 John Carpenter classic Escape from New York, the President of the United States is kidnapped and taken to a futuristic, dystopian Manhattan, which has been transformed into a maximum security prison. Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell), a former soldier and prisoner, is given 24 hours to find the president and escape with him.
The 2012 science fiction thriller Lockout features a similar plot, with Guy Pearce playing a prisoner who is offered freedom in exchange for saving the President’s daughter (Maggie Grace) from a maximum security jail… in space. Many critics commented on the similarities between this film and Escape from New York upon its release, including John Carpenter himself, who sued the film for plagiarising Escape and its sequel, Escape from LA. Carpenter’s lawsuit was successful, and French producer Luc Besson paid almost half a million dollars for the infraction.
Romancing the Stone/King Solomon’s Mines – Raiders of the Lost Ark
It’s fair to say that Allan Quatermain, an English adventurer in Africa who made his literary debut in 1885, probably influenced Steven Spielberg and George Lucas’s Indiana Jones films quite a bit, but the character wasn’t exactly a matinée idol before Raiders of the Lost Ark became a smash hit in 1981.
In the years following Raiders, other studios tried to cash in on its success by making their own problematic movies about adventurous white guys travelling though “exotic” locales, including King Solomon’s Mines, starring Richard Chamberlain as Allan Quatermain in “Darkest Africa,” and Robert Zemeckis’ Romancing the Stone, which stars Michael Douglas as an exotic bird smuggler searching for a giant emerald in the Colombian jungle. The latter film was so successful at copying the Raiders formula that Spielberg recruited Zemeckis for Back to the Future.
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