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8 Unfortunate Release Date Clashes

With the future of cinema – Avatar – out on the same day as St Trinian’s 2: The Legend Of Fritton’s Fricking Gold , we track down the flicks that had to do box office battle with other blockbuster big boys…


In 10 Words: Action mayhem from the ultimate robo-hitman or supernatural sentimentality?

Date Released: 16 August 1991

Target Audiences: Action freaks, fledgling film theorists and middle-aged hankie packers…

Sample Critic Quote s: Truly “Think of this persuasively acted British romance as the thinking man’s Ghost.” Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

T2 “Nobody, I think, will complain that it doesn’t have enough action.” Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Potential Crossover: It’s one for him, one for her. Truly’s ‘dead man walking’ Alan Rickman is him out of Die Hard while sceptical girlfriends are intrigued by Linda Hamilton and subtext-tweaking themes of gender and violence in T2. Crossover action and a weepie for anyone with a beating heart…

Money Made: T2 $519,843,340

Truly $1,554,742 (US)

Next: Aliens vs Highlander [page-break]


In 10 Words: Ripley duelling alien queens or immortal Scotsmen duelling one another?

Date Released: 29 August 1986

Target Audiences: Extra-terrestrial haters and kilt-frenzied Connery die-hards.

Sample Critic Quotes: Aliens “This sequel dares to build slowly, allowing Weaver to develop a multi-dimensional character... There is always an interesting tension in Cameron’s work between masculine and feminine qualities.” Tom Charity, Time Out

Highlander “Narrative coherence is not a quality which director Mulcahy brings to this mondial of machismo...” Richard Rayner, Time Out

Potential Crossover: Substantial. Both are sci-fi, both are violent, both are aimed mainly at boys. But then, James Cameron’s highly anticipated “Fembo” bug-hunt is the sequel to a stomach-churning and hugely successful original and the kilted Scots with swords are more about camp and cult curiosity value. Wait till the video for that one, then.

Money Made:

Aliens $131,060,248

Highlander $12,885,193

Next: Titanic vs. Das Boot: The Director's Cut [page-break]


In 10 Words: Three hours of doomed seafaring or 180 minutes of… oh.

Date Released: 23 January 1998

Target Audiences: Kleenex lovers, romantics, first-time dates, event-movie fans, the curious and the rep/arthouse hardcore.

Sample Critic Quotes: Das Boot “ no means a pleasant experience, but it’s an intelligent and emotionally gripping one.” Keith Phipps, The Onion AV Club

Titanic “A good, often stunning movie caught in a three-and-a-half hour drift.” Desson Thomson, Washington Post

Potential Crossover: Minimal. Sure, both have general water-related peril alongside spectacle and tragedy, but only one has a MASSIVE marketing wallet and is the talk of every town. The sweeping romantic one wins… if only for the timeless Celine Dion song attached to the end of it.

Money Made:

Titanic $1,842,879,955

Das Boot $11,487,676 (US)

Next: Sex & The City vs. Zoo [page-break]


In 10 Words: Chic urban women talk sex or networking horse ‘lovers’ get documented.

Date Released: 30 May 2008

Target Audiences: TV hounds, metrosexual blokes and the morbidly curious arthouse set

Sample Critic Quotes: Sex “It is still unusual to see a film that features women as the leading characters of their own lives…” Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Zoo “…the filmmakers reserve judgement, instead turning their attention to the larger question of how human beings have revised and re-evaluated codes of acceptable behavior…” Scott Foundas, Variety

Potential Crossover: Hard to say. Sex And The City has always been more about the sex than the city, so a movie about chaps into bestiality could easily please the Carrie clans looking for a something a little more Samantha. That said, word is Carrie changes her hair colour in the Sex movie – oh yes, indeed – so no fan’s going to miss out on that earth-shaker for a spot of horse cock.

Money Made :

Sex : $415,252,786

Zoo : Less than London Zoo takes in a single hour.

Next: King Kong vs. Lassie [page-break]


In 10 Words: The roaring king of the jungle or a yapping collie?

Date Released: 16 December 2005

Target Audiences: Rings withdrawal sufferers, weekend-movie regulars, one-film-a-year types and... erm... Crufts attendees? The ghost of Barbara Woodhouse?

Sample Critic Quotes: Kong “A super-sized version of a yarn that was big to begin with, a stupendous adventure...” Todd McCarthy, Variety Lassie “The scenery is lovely...” Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

Potential Crossover: Minimal. Kong’s the beast for role-playing Rings lovers turned spouses who’ve hired the babysitter for a (long) night out. Lassie’s a dogged bitch but soggy-nosed sentiment with an oddly high-grade cast can’t beat Skull Island. Don’t sniff at Lassie, mind: she outscored Kong on reviews website Metacritic. “Woof” to the big ape!

Money Made:

Kong $550,517,357

Lassie $6,436,340

Next: Star Wars Episode I vs. The Third Man [page-break]


In 10 Words: Welles resurrected to challenge the dark side of event cinema.

Date Released: 16 July 1999

Target Audiences : Pre-teens/terminally nostalgic adults and Jedi warriors for the repertory rebellion.

Sample Critic Quotes: The Phantom Menace “Nothing has the right to bore and disappoint us this much.” Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

The Third Man “You cannot see Carol Reed’s classic often enough.” Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Potential Crossover Huge: No, really. There will always be people queuing up to cruise through Vienna’s inky shadows at the flicks, but most of those people were movie-reared under Tatooine’s twin suns, so getting the geek on at the weekend was essential to all. After all, pre-James Cameron’s Avatar, it was the biggest thing at the movies.

Money Made:

Menace $924,317,558

The Third Man $618,173 (US)

Next: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire vs. The Libertine [page-break]


In 10 Words: Growing boy wizard waggles his wand at Johnny Depp’s debauchery.

Date Released: 18 November 2005

Target Audiences: Youthful fantasists and either Depp-heads or degenerates.

Sample Critic Quotes: Potter “...even more SFX than its predecessors and a major injection of sex.” Philip French, The Observer

The Libertine “Depp is a raunchy wonder...” Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Potential Crossover: Huge. Booze drama Factotum and boozy biopic Stoned also stood up to Harry, a slate resembling some smart-arsed “Harry Pothead” distributors’ in-joke or an attempt to tempt kids growing out of JK to embrace drink and sex? But Potter grew up a bit in this outing, so no-one’s upset when they can’t get into the 18 cert.

Money Made : Potter $895,921,036

Libertine $10,852,064

Next: Star Wars Episode IV vs. Rollercoaster [page-break]


In 10 Words: Disaster movie cycle tail-ender tussles with the FX movie agenda-setter...

Date Released: 27 December 1977

Target Audiences: Every kid in the world and oldsters craving more rickety thrill rides.

Sample Critic Quotes: Star Wars “Entertainment so direct and simple that all of the complications of the modern movie seem to vaporise.” Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Rollercoaster “The rollercoaster rides are the highlights and they are fabulous.” Anon, Variety

Potential Crossover: It’s a father-son thing. Pre-Airplane! dads relate without embarrassment to George Segal’s struggles to quit smoking in ’Coaster. Everyone loves a disaster romp, too. But the kids won’t shut up about Star Wars. They think it’s the future of cinema. So dads go along for a bit of peace and quiet…

Money Made: Star Wars $775,398,007

Rollercoaster Did anyone count?

Will Avatar trounce St. Trinians 2? Will it be the biggest upset in box office history?