'Hercules' completes a double whammy for the legendary character.
It happens almost every year: two films are released with virtually the same premise. Generally, one of them goes on to box office glory while fans remember the lesser-known film with fondness. This year, we have two incarnations of Hercules battling it out for supremacy.
Dwayne Johnson in 'Hercules'
Kellen Lutz played the demigod in The Legend of Hercules, released in America in January and in Britain in March. Directed by Finnish action maestro Renny Harlin (Cliffhanger), the movie was shot in Bulgaria and earned a paltry $61 million at the global box office (it cost more than $70 million to make). Even worse, the film has a dire 3% positive rating from Rotten Tomatoes critics, and a slightly better 35% of audiences that liked it.
And now this weekend, Dwayne Johnson takes on the role for Brett Ratner's big-budget Hercules. Shot in Hungary, this one cost more ($100 million) and has a much starrier cast. But it will only have a week to rule the box office before Guardians of the Galaxy sweeps away all competition next Friday.
Memorable double-whammy years include 1997 (volcanoes in Dante's Peak and Volcano), 1998 (asteroids in Armageddon and Deep Impact; plus animated ants in A Bug's Life and Antz), 2000 (Mars adventures in Red Planet and Mission to Mars), 2006 (magicians in The Prestige and The Illusionist), 2009 (security guards in Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Observe and Report), 2011 (casual sex in Friends With Benefits and No Strings Attached), 2012 (Snow White in Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman).
In 2006, Philip Seymour Hoffman won an Oscar for Capote, leaving Toby Jones' excellent performance in Infamous to arthouse crowds. And of course, last year Gerard Butler's over-serious Olympus Has Fallen trounced Channing Tatum's riotously enjoyable White House Down at the box office. Let the Hercules throw-down begin!