The Blockbuster: The wintry fantasy based on the first of C.S. Lewis’ much-loved childhood classic, The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe was a worldwide smash with a $745 million global haul.
The Small Movie: Adapted from Lloyd Jones’s novel, Mr. Pip establishes its story in Papua New Guinea, with Hugh Laurie’s titular character the only teacher left on the island of Bougainville whose choice to read Great Expectations to his students causes bizarre repercussions.
Shared Elements: The wartime conditions experienced by the children in each movie finds them transported, via literature and a wardrobe, into fantastical worlds within their imaginations.
The Blockbuster: The first Twilight introduced the world to the porcelain charms of vamp Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and the object of his forbidden desire, sullen teen, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart.)
The Small Movie: Sex, drugs and rock&roll drama, Plush , with Sucker Punch ’s Emily Browning as a musician surrounded by tragedy and possibly a handsome stalker.
Shared Elements: The main female characters receive (unwanted) attention from pale, scrawny males.
The Blockbuster: The Twilight Saga - Breaking Dawn: Parts 1 and 2. The teen-vamp epic double-parter that drew to a close the traumatic pubescent experiences of moody teen, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart.)
The Small Movie: Hard-edged real-life drama, The Fifth Estate was a major departure for Condon. Abandoning fantasy, he ventured into the grit of the Wikileaks scandal in this adaptation of Julian Assange’s story.
Shared Elements: The subject matter, target audience and shooting style couldn’t be more polarised, however, each of Condon’s efforts were adapted from books.
The Blockbuster: Bringing Shane Black’s snappy script to life, Lethal Weapon ’s tag team of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as two incompatible cops reinvigorated ‘80s action comedy.
The Small Movie: A Christmas film with bite, Scrooged remade It’s A Wonderful Life into an updated parable, replacing the affable George Bailey with Bill Murray’s bilious TV executive.
Shared Elements: A happy Christmassy ending.
The Blockbuster: A family-friendly reboot, The Mummy raided Universal’s back catalogue and revamped its swaddled villain for this enjoyable old-school adventure which netted $415 million worldwide.
The Small Movie: An adaptation of Dean Koontz’s novel, Odd Thomas doubles as the name of the movie’s hero played by Anton Yelchin. A young man with supernatural sight, Odd is gifted with the ability to sense disaster whenever a scourge of Bodachs - evil harbingers of death - begin sniffing around.
Shared Elements: The reanimated dead appear to Odd as warnings, and the reanimated Imhotep appears to try and kill everyone in The Mummy .
The Blockbuster: The one where the caped superheroes had nipple protecters, Batman & Robin was Warner Bros’s final stab at the Batman franchise, dropping Val Kilmer and roping in George Clooney for what Schumacher himself dubbed “a cartoon.”
The Small Movie: A gloomy jaunt into the world of snuff films, 8MM cast Nicolas Cage as a private investigator determined to solve the mystery of a VHS tape depicting the seemingly-real death of a young girl. Bleak.
Shared Elements: The heroes share a common interest in wandering into dark places where there’s a good chance they’ll lose a limb or their life.
The Blockbuster: The third entry in the series, Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban merged the brighter, sunnier aspects of the first two films, steering the magical goings-on toward darker waters as another person adds Harry to his kill list.
The Small Movie: The “Parc Monceau” vignette in the mammoth anthology flick, Paris Je t’aime . Cuaron’s short runs in a continuous shot for around five minutes telling the sweet, succinct story of a father and daughter.
Shared Elements: Unexpected familial revelations form central twists in the plots of both.
The Blockbuster: Beverly Hills Cop , the movie that transported comedian Eddie Murphy from the stages of the stand-up circuit to affluent Beverly Hills as loudmouth cop, Axel Foley. Determined to hunt his friend’s killer, the Detroit detective’s wisecracking nature kickstarted the buddy-cop genre.
The Small Movie: A quaint comedy-drama about seizing the day, Scent Of A Woman cast a teenage Chris O’Donnell as the clueless Charlie, a young lad roped into taking care of an outspoken retired army officer, Frank Slade (Al Pacino).
Shared Elements: Shy, retiring sidekicks dragged into a whole host of manic ideas by the far more adventurous heroes.
The Blockbuster: The 1973 horror smash that had audiences vomiting in the aisles, and priests called in to soothe the panicking masses, The Exorcist proved that an 18 certificate has bugger all sway on the box office when you’ve got a possessed pre-teen mouthing off like a sailor.
The Small Movie: Cruising , starring Al Pacino as a NYPD cop sent deep undercover into the city’s seedy S&M scene to hunt a serial killer targeting gay men.
Shared Elements: The characters you least expect to be responsible for the violent incidents in each film are both the culprits. Sneaky.
George Roy Hill
The Blockbuster: The Redford and Newman western classic, Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid bagged the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for its kinda real-life depiction of two outlaws heading to the greener, more criminal-friendly pastures of Bolivia.
The Small Movie : Based on Kurt Vonnegut’s meta-novel, Slaughterhouse Five remains loyal to its source, traipsing across time as the hapless Billy Pilgrim shakes free of his life’s proper chronological order and experiences it seemingly at random.
Shared Elements: The quick-witted Butch shares a verbal tenacity with Billy, who like Cassidy quite enjoys traveling.
The Blockbuster: Marvel’s first out of the gate, Iron Man and its sequel crushed it at the box office, with their funny comic book actioner that threw Robert Downey Jr. back into the public sphere.
The Small Movie: Culinary comedy drama, Chef , stars Favreau in the leading role as chef Carl Casper. In a struggle to juggle his creative side, and personal life Casper winds up in the social media spotlight, after an outbreak at a food critic lands him online.
Shared Elements: Downey Jr. and Favreau playfully riff off each other in both movies.
The Blockbuster: Historical epic, Ben-Hur , chronicling the life of a Jewish prince (Charlton Heston) who is forced into slavery only to plot his revenge, was at the time the most expensive movie ever produced. The gamble paid off - Ben-Hur bagged 11 Academy Awards.
The Small Movie: Adapted from the play of the same name, The Children’s Hour was Wyler’s follow-up. A private school drama starring Shirley Maclaine and Audrey Hepburn, it’s an early exploration of public attitudes to a rumoured lesbian couple.
Shared Elements: The leads in both films are punished for circumstances beyond their control; Ben-Hur and his family are imprisoned for the roof tile incident, and Martha and Karen are ostracised based on the rantings of a schoolgirl.
John G. Avildsen
The Blockbuster: The movie that put Sylvester Stallone on the map, boxing drama Rocky had the heart, the brawn and the brains to become one of the biggest hits of 1976. Winning the Best Picture Oscar, it also landed Avildsen the Best Director statuette.
The Small Movie: The practically unheard-of Slow Dancing In The Big City ; a drama starring Paul Sorvino as a reporter who falls for the woman next door, it has yet to be released on home video following disappointing box office receipts.
Shared Elements: Rocky ’s Talia Shire and Slow Dancing ’s Anne Ditchburn both received Golden Globe nominations.
The Blockbuster: Twenty five years old this year, the first big-screen Batman outing cast Michael Keaton in the titular role for Burton’s schlocky comic book adaptation.
The Small Movie: A spoof of sorts, Ed Wood marked the second collaboration between Burton and Johnny Depp, with the star on top form as the spluttering B-movie director desperate to produce a monster romp.
Shared Elements: Brilliantly over-the-top performances from Johnny Depp and Jack Nicholson as The Joker in Batman .
The Blockbuster: The Ghostbusters turned being a science nerd into a truly cool profession, with two geeks, one joker and Winston bringing the ass whuppin’ to ghosts and demons before Paranormal Activity ’s Toby was out of nappies.
The Small Movie: A witty comedy starring Kevin Kline as a man tasked with impersonating the President, Dave enlisted a slew of political figures in cameo roles, adding a touch of verisimilitude to this low-key flick.
Shared Elements: Sigourney Weaver appears in both; in Ghostbusters she portrays Venkman’s love interest Dana Barrett and in Dave she’s the fake President’s wife, Ellen.
The Blockbuster: Taking the chalice (or should we say goblet?) from Alfonso Cuaron, Newell continued the Potter saga with Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire , his entry into the canon. Highlights include the Quidditch World Cup and a pre-Twilight Robert Pattinson.
The Small Movie: An adaptation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love In The Time Of Cholera , Newell opted for a smaller cast and not a whiff of CGI in this Latin America period drama.
Shared Elements: The unattainable love of a woman features heavily in both.
The Blockbuster: The star-studded ensemble, Ocean’s 11 , remade the Rat Pack classic into a glossy casino heist spearheaded by Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his crew of multi-skilled comrades.
The Small Movie: Full Frontal . Sounds like a Von Trier flick. Actually it’s a small-yet-starry ensemble shot on digital video, chronicling a day in the life of a clutch of Hollywood actors.
Shared Elements: Julia Roberts did her pal Soderbergh a solid and appeared in both.
The Blockbuster: Dan Brown’s page-turner The Da Vinci Code , brought that age-old pondering “Who was Jesus, really... in himself?” to the big screen in an racy adventure mix of Time Team and Indiana Jones.
The Small Movie: The talkative Frost/Nixon , a reenactment of the infamous 1977 interviews between Richard Nixon (a never-better Frank Langella) and David Frost (Michael Sheen) was a staggering piece of cinema. One setting, two characters and a nugget of truth threatening to tear them apart.
Shared Elements: Both are reportedly based on true events.
The Blockbuster: The first two entries into the Harry Potter series, Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber Of Secrets , kickstarted Potter mania sending the entire globe into hysteria over the child wizard’s dalliances with all things magic.
The Small Movie: The under-the-radar Hayden Panettiere rom-com, I Love You, Beth Cooper , which, it appears no-one has watched.
Shared Elements: Ah, the perils of unrequited love flare up in both, with the Harry-Hermione-Ron love triangle making its debut and... well, the title of I Love You, Beth Cooper suggests the same.
The Blockbuster: The first Spider-Man film series, Raimi’s adaptations of the Marvel comic fave netted a cool $2.5 billion at the box office, and paved the way for a surge of superhero trilogies.
The Small Movie: Revisiting an old script for Drag Me To Hell , Raimi harked back to his Evil Dead roots for this ‘80s-style horror. A genuine scarefest, it follows a cursed young woman who struggles for three days to stave off an inevitable trip to Beelzebub’s pad.
Shared Elements: Sam Raimi’s 1973 Oldsmobile Delta car pops up in all three Spider-Man flicks, during Uncle Ben’s death scene in the first and the third, and outside Peter’s house in the second. It appears throughout most of Drag Me To Hell as heroine Christine’s car.
The Blockbuster: Autobots, Decepticons, Shia LaBeouf attracting women out of his league: it’s the Transformers trilogy. One the biggest and brashest summer franchises, it doesn’t matter if you didn’t get the story because, oooh explosions.
The Small Movie: Based on a true story, for Pain & Gain Bay swapped out giant robots for giant pecs (and a colossal budget for a paltry $26 million) with Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson as gym rats trying to pull a con. Who knew Bay could do funny?
Shared Elements: The stars of the blockbuster transform from cars into battling robots. The stars of the latter transform from scrawny dweebs into beefcake criminals.
The Blockbuster: Black Hawk Down was Scott’s take on the Battle Of Mogadishu during the 1993 Somalian conflict. Following a brigade of U.S. soldiers attempting to capture a warlord, it took certain historical liberties to benefit the plot but still raked in $173 million worldwide.
The Small Movie: An updated Grifters -lite, Matchstick Men stands as testament to Nic Cage’s ability to play a role without histrionics. A father teaching his daughter (Alison Lohmann) the art of the long con, it’s an underrated crime caper.
Shared Elements: As thematically different as they may seem, the score for each film was composed by Scott’s go-to music man, Hans Zimmer.
The Blockbuster: Spielberg’s ambitious disaster remake of War Of The Worlds pitted Tom Cruise’s everyman against swarms of extraterrestrials attempting to fly their flag on Earth.
The Small Movie: Munich shifted focus from the devious plottings of aliens to humans in this true story about the Israeli attack against Palestine following the Munich Olympics. A compelling revenge drama-thriller, it was sadly one of Spielberg’s lowest-grossing efforts.
Shared Elements: Everyone knows War Of The Worlds was based on the classic H.G. Wells novel... but did you know Munich is also an adaptation?
The Blockbuster: The Middle-Earth trilogy based on J.R. Hartley’s... wait, no J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy series, The Lord Of The Rings busted blocks and transformed millions across the globe into fully-fledged fans of Frodo and co.
The Small Movie : A dark tale, The Lovely Bones takes place following the murder of teenager Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan). The horrifying revelations which emerge from the aftermath are a tad bleak.
Shared Elements: Jackson’s partner Fran Walsh and long-term collaborator Phillippa Boyens produced The Lord Of The Rings trilogy and co-penned the script for The Lovely Bones .
The Blockbuster: Marvel’s superhero behemoth, The Avengers . The lynchpin for their entire cinematic universe raked in a colossal box office haul and satisfied the comic aficionados to boot.
The Small Movie: A modern re-telling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing , Whedon shot the lo-fi talkfest in his own house with a bunch of his buddies from previous projects.
Shared Elements: Actress Jillian Morgese, whose scant appearance as a doomed waitress in The Avengers won over Whedon who went on to cast her as Hero in Much Ado .