Film and facsimile

Mustache party!

Mustache party!

Xerox cinema is the tendency of studios to develop and release strikingly similar projects at the same time, a phenomenon that allows a rare opportunity to pit films in head-to-head competition. Here are some of the great Xerox cinema battles of the 1990s:

Antz vs. A Bug’s Life (1998 animated movies about bugs)

Public’s choice: A Bug’s Life made almost twice as much

Critics’ choice: Antz in a shocker (95 to 91 percent)

Cinema Scoped’s choice: Include me with those crazy critics who prefer the funnier and weirder Antz.

Winner: Antz

Dante’s Peak vs. Volcano (1997 volcano disaster movies)

Public’s choice: Dante’s Peak in a squeaker

Critics’ choice: Volcano (42 to 28 percent)

Cinema Scoped’s choice: They’re both terrible, but Volcano has the superior cast.

Winner: Volcano, although the realization that I’ve seen both movies is forcing me to re-evaluate some life choices

Tombstone vs. Wyatt Earp (1994 “revisionist” Earp biopics)

Public’s choice: The Kurt Russell vehicle Tombstone grossed twice as much as the three-hour Kevin Costner movie.

Critics’ choice: Tombstone (77 to 42 percent)

Cinema Scoped’s choice: Do 77 percent of film critics really like Tombstone? I’ll take Wyatt Earp on principle alone.

Winner: Tombstone

Christopher Columbus: The Discovery vs. 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992 crap-lousy Columbus biopics)

Public’s choice: Christopher Columbus ($8.2 million to $7.2 million—bad year for Columbus biopics!)

Critics’ choice: 1492 (44 to 8 percent—wait a minute, 44 percent? I give up.)

Cinema Scoped’s choice: This is the Xerox cinema battle equivalent of watching two white heavyweights go toe to toe: bloody, boring and utterly uninspired. Christopher Columbus at least has Marlon Brando and some spectacularly gratuitous nudity on its side.

Winner: Christopher Columbus: The Discovery. Victory at last for Georges Corraface!