I think movie titles are deliberately confusing. I think moviemakers – mostly those with lesser quality films – want the public to think their movie is really another movie that is more popular.
Here are some examples.
Mad Max: Fury Road was released a couple of months before Max. Mad Max is rated R because it is violent. It is part of a long line of successful sequels that are known for their violence.
Max is the story of a boy and his dog, a PG movie that is more like Lassie, Come Home than Mad Max. Imagine if a mom or dad took their 5-year-old to see Mad Max when they thought it was a dog movie.
This might just seem coincidental but it happens all the time.
Here’s another example.
Insidious: Chapter 3 came out about the same time as Inside Out. Insidious: Chapter 3 is the PG-13-rated, third edition (duh) horror movie that is totally unsuited for kids (or adults, really).
Inside Out is Pixar’s latest PG film that some critics are calling Pixar’s best movie yet (that’s high praise). This is probably OK for kids and definitely suitable for adults.
Taking your 5-year-old to see Insidious: Chapter 3 when you thought it was a Pixar flick is close to being child abuse. Imagine the nightmares a kid would have.
By the way, I have seen parents bring young children into movies (Jurassic World is one of them) that are very inappropriate for young children.
Sometimes movies have different sounding titles but are the same story.
Screenwriter Mark Hughes said, “Sometimes a big film will come out and be a hit, so a smaller studio will hurry up and rush through creating their own film to cash in on it – this happens with a lot of direct-to-DVD films, for example. When a low-budget production studio finds out Steven Spielberg is making War of the Worlds, they know they can make a cheap version of it themselves and then wait until Spielberg releases his version… then, after a few months, right before the Spielberg version goes to DVD, this low-budget version is released direct to DVD, and the low-budget filmmakers know their DVD version will probably get a lot of rentals due to misidentification, people with the film on their mind looking for something new to watch, etc. The big-budget version acts as free advertising for the low-budget one, and pushes viewers to the cheap knockoff.”
Or sometimes, two studios have the same “great idea” at the same time.
In 2013, White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen were the same movie – terrorists somehow take over the White House and the president is rescued by a hero.
In 1997, Dante’s Peak and the movie Volcano came out at the same time. The story was people trying to escape from an erupting volcano.
Big stars are in very similar movies. In 1998, Bruce Willis starred in Armageddon while Robert Duvall was in Deep Impact. In both movies, our heroes tried to stop a massive comet from hitting Earth and destroying our planet.
Also in 1998, Antz and A Bugs Life were both released. These were essentially the same movie.
Disney and Pixar battled in those two animated comedies about a tiny hero. You would think animated films that take so long to produce would have avoided such a conflict.
The list goes on and on.
In 2000, Mission to Mars and Red Planet both chronicled a flight to the Red Planet that went bad.
In 2003-2004, kids were treated to Finding Nemo and Shark Tale. Again, two animated films with pretty much the same story. Even their publicity posters looked alike.
In 2004, Chasing Liberty and First Daughter were movies that told the story of the daughter of the President and First Lady and her unwillingness to play by the rules of security at the White House.
If you looked at the publicity posters for The Wild and Madagascar in 2005/2006, you would think the posters were for the same animated comedy. World Trade Center and United 93 in 2006 told the same action/adventure story.
Don’t forget the romantic comedies.
In 2011, Friends With Benefits and No Strings Attached. No Strings Attached reportedly was going to be called “Friends With Benefits” until they found out that name was taken.
And then there was A Hijacking and Captain Philips in 2012/2013 – both showed ships being hijacked by Somali pirates.
What does this all mean?
First, Hollywood is more interested in making a buck than telling a story.
Secondly, it is extremely rare to find an original thought made into a movie.