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Top 10 Shameless Mockbusters

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Kurt Hvorup Subtlety is apparently not in the vocabulary of some filmmakers. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Shameless Mockbusters. For this list, we're looking at those movies that we find were blatantly trying to ride on the success of big blockbusters. Since our focus is on mockbusters, meaning low-budget films that copied a major film's title and themes, we're excluding distinctive rip-offs like "Mac and Me." Special thanks to our users Johnny B. Goode, Kenny McCormick, DonovanTPS and MikeyP for submitting the idea on our Interactive Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Kurt Hvorup

Top 10 Shameless Mockbusters


Subtlety is apparently not in the vocabulary of some filmmakers. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Shameless Mockbusters.

For this list, we’re looking at those movies that we find were blatantly trying to ride on the success of big blockbusters. Since our focus is on mockbusters, meaning low-budget films that copied a major film’s title and themes, we’re excluding distinctive rip-offs like “Mac and Me.”

#10: “Atlantic Rim” (2013)

Atlantic, Pacific, what’s the difference? Thus, we have “Atlantic Rim”, clearly a derivative of Guillermo del Toro’s blockbuster “Pacific Rim”, with both films relying on the idea of humans piloting giant robots and battling giant monsters. This time around, however, the robots are designed for deep-sea missions rather than specifically being designed for combating kaiju. It’s certainly a novel idea, but “Atlantic Rim” wears its origins on its sleeve.

#9: “Bound” (2015)

For every high-budget production about BDSM, there’s a cheap knock-off. Such is the case for “Bound”, the story of real estate broker Michelle entering a submissive relationship with Ryan, a younger man. In case you were wondering about the timing of this one, the film was released a month before “Fifty Shades of Grey”, the major motion picture tackling similar subject matter. In fact, “Bound” was relying on the association to a degree; its tag line was “No Grey – Only Black and White”. How subtle.

#8: “Sunday School Musical” (2008)

It’s the start of something new... or something derivative and without shame, apparently. No matter how you feel about Disney Channel Original Movies, taking such a film and merely changing the focus to a church choir seems questionable at best. Yet that’s “Sunday School Musical” in a nutshell – the tale of teenage churchgoers entering a song-and-dance competition, in order to save their church. The film’s producer has said that the film was made as an explicitly Christian version of “High School Musical”, based on a suggestion from a marketing seminar.

#7: “AvH: Alien vs. Hunter” (2007)

20th Century Fox must have been fuming back in the day. After all, when your latest crossover film “Alien vs. Predator: Requiem” is still a week from release, do you really want a mockbuster being released to steal your glory? “AVH” borrows many elements from Fox’s movie: the suburban setting, the conflict between a brutal space Hunter and a vicious Alien, humans caught in the middle. The plagiarism is thoroughly apparent, right down to the mockbuster’s title.

#6: “Snakes on a Train” (2006)

Replace the plane with a train – it’ll be a whole new movie. That may very well have been the thinking that film studio and distributor The Asylum used to justify their 2006 film “Snakes on a Train”, a riff on the then-upcoming movie “Snakes on a Plane”. The Asylum’s project, like its bigger-budget source, focuses on hundreds of snakes being unleashed aboard a fast-moving mode of transport, tormenting the passengers. However, in this incarnation, we get heavy helpings of gore and a woman transforming into a giant snake. Yes, really.

#5: “Android Cop” (2014)

We probably wouldn’t buy this - not even for a dollar. Whatever can be said of the 2014 remake of the classic action film “RoboCop”, it wasn’t asking for imitators like “Android Cop”. A film by The Asylum, it pits an LAPD detective and his new robot partner against corrupt officers, as they escort the mayor’s daughter out of an irradiated area of California. Though the setting has shifted from Detroit to Los Angeles, “Android Cop” remains tied to its source material’s focus on action and the challenges of working with a robotic companion.

#4: “Transmorphers” (2007)

Robots in disguise... or robots rampaging Earth and enslaving humanity. Despite the distinction in premise, “Transmorphers” is a clear-as-day attempt to piggyback on the success of director Michael Bay’s adaptation of “Transformers”. “Transmorphers” focuses on the struggles of a human resistance group battling giant alien robots; the most significant difference from “Transformers” is that the film’s events occur centuries after the robots conquered humanity, a story later documented in the 2009 prequel “Transmorphers: Fall of Man”.

#3: “Paranormal Entity” (2009)

This one makes us feel a bit uncomfortable, to be honest. Released as a cheap copycat of “Paranormal Activity”, this 2009 film by The Asylum uses the former’s documentary-style filmmaking and low-budget setup to tell the story of a woman being sexually assaulted and killed by supernatural forces. Samantha Finley and her family seek to investigate what they believe is a demon haunting them, only for events to spiral out of control. Any way the audience looks at it, this is “Paranormal Activity” redone with a much more grim outcome.

#2: “Metal Man” (2008)

I am Metal Man. Or rather, our hero Kyle Finn is Metal Man, whose super-powered metal suit comes in handy when battling ninjas... and a terror robot... and Finn’s rival Reed. Admittedly a solid premise, it nevertheless comes under scrutiny when one considers a single detail: “Metal Man” was released the same year as Marvel Studios’ “Iron Man”. Yes, this mockbuster exists to take advantage of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first film; Metal Man is even designed similarly to Iron Man, to hammer the point home.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “Ratatoing” (2007)
- “Pirates of Treasure Island” (2006)
- “Alien Origin” (2012)
- “The Da Vinci Treasure” (2006)
- “Starcrash” (1978)
- “200 mph” (2011)

#1: “Almighty Thor” (2011)

This one’s the cream of the crop, so to speak. With the success of Marvel Studios’ films, cash-grabbing knock-offs were to be expected – hence the existence of this mockbuster. “Almighty Thor” tells the tale of a young Thor, who in this version is an inexperienced warrior, as he seeks justice for the death of his brother and father. Making the Norse god of thunder the hero is blatant enough, but add the trickster god Loki as Thor’s mortal foe and you have a clear-cut grab at the money made by Marvel’s own “Thor” movie.

Do you agree with our list? What mockbusters do you feel are the most shameless? For more forward Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.


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