We spoken about this topic in the world of magic before, apparently there's a company we could refer to now as 'Movie Fakers'. Their real name is 'The Asylum' and they have been distributing cheap c-Grade films since 1992. (Check them out on Wikipedia).
In 1997 they started producing their own, all with low budgets between $250,000 - $800,000, with titles like 'MAX KNIGHT-ULTRA SPY', 'LEGION OF THE DEAD', 'JOLLY ROGER: MASSACRE AT CUTTER'S COVE'.
After the success of the Peter Jackson's 'KING KONG', they brought out their own $1m version 'KING OF THE LOST WORLD'. The $20m movie 'THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE' was a financial blockbuster, so Asylum brought out their "version" 'EXORCISM: THE POSSESSION OF GAIL BOWERS'.
Asylum must have realised they were onto something. Consumers bought the direct-to-dvd titles in stores, mistaking them for the real thing or thinking they were sequels or prequels of films they enjoyed, and because Asylum's film cost so little to produce, they started making money almost immediately.
And so, came titles like:
- UNIVERSAL SOLDIERS (Nothing to do with the Van Damme UNIVERSAL SOLDIER series)
- WHEN A KILLER CALLS (Came out at the same time as the remake of WHEN A STRANGER CALLS)
- DRAGON (Coincided with the release of ERAGON)
- THE HITCH HIKER (Released the same time as the remake of THE HITCHER)
- 666: THE CHILD (Came out when the remake of THE OMEN hit cinemas)
- HALLOWEEN NIGHT (Yep, HALLOWEEN)
- SUPERCROC (Same time the Aussie fim ROGUE came out)
- HILLSIDE CANNIBALS (Similar to the remake of THE HILLS HAVE EYES)
- PIRATES OF TREASURE ISLAND (Main character just like Cap Jack Sparrow)
- INVASION OF THE POD PEOPLE (Hmm... some say better than the Nicole Kidman INVASION, but that's just being mean!)
- 100,000,000 BC (Due out at the same time as 10,000,000 BC)
When Spielberg brought out his $132m feature 'WAR OF THE WORLDS', because the book was public domain, Asylum brought out their own $1m version of it at the same time. Plus they're bringing out 'WAR OF THE WORLDS: THE NEXT WAVE' this year...
Asylum director Leigh Scott Scott defends The Asylum, saying that it is also just doing what numerous other people are doing (I think I've heard that argument somewhere before) and the United States consumer advocate noted that, while it is very misleading and unfair to customers, it is perfectly legal and, from a business standpoint, very clever.
Are these movies actually any good? Most get a rating of 1 out of 10 on the IMDB, but take a look for yourself...
THE DA VINCI TREASURE:
SNAKES ON A TRAIN
I AM OMEGA:
ALIEN vs HUNTER:
TRANSMORPHERS (with a massive $250,000 budget!):
Take a look at the preview trailer for the upcoming CLOVERFIELD releasing on Jan 17:
And here is the trailer for Asylum's MONSTER releasing on Jan 15: