It’s been a decade since Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis starred in the incredibly similar films No Strings Attached and Friends With Benefits, after which life imitated art.
Over the years, we’ve watched as an idea takes hold of the town in such a way that films released within months of one another wind up competing because they’re, in essence, telling the same story. In 1997, it was Dante’s Peak vs. Volcano. A year later, moviegoers chose sides in the asteroid film face-off between Deep Impact and Armageddon. In 2004, the adventures of the president’s daughter were top of mind in both Chasing Liberty and First Daughter.
It’s a phenomenon known as the twin films, born out of a somewhat cutthroat industry that’s smaller than you might think, where a pass on producing a script just might lead to the desire to compete with it instead. And it dates back to the late ’30s when Bette Davis, having been denied the role of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind, reportedly sought out a film of her own about a strong-willed Southern woman set against the backdrop of the Civil War. And just like that, Jezebel arrived in 1938, positioned as a rival for the 1939 film.
While the why not find out more twin film concept is nearly a century old at this point, we’re officially a ples of the cinematic coincidence. We’re talking, of course, about the 2011 release of both No Strings Attached and Friends with Benefits.
What about these two films hitting theaters months apart makes us chuckle whenever we think of them, aside from the fact that they’re both somewhat racy romantic comedies about two friends who attempt a casual sexual relationship, only to develop feelings?