The A.V Club examine the phenomena of the “Blockbuster Knock-off” from its humble beginnings to more contemporary examples:
It’s fascinating how The Asylum’s business model has been built around producing cheap knock-offs of soon-to-be-released motion pictures by recycling ideas from other, tangentially related films, such as “The Terminator,” mirroring Hollywood’s tendency of releasing similarly-themed films by rival studios within a short time-frame (ie. “Deep Impact”/”Armageddon”, “Wyatt Earp”/”Tombstone,” “Transformers”/”Terminator: Salvation”).
Like the Roger Corman studios that churned out low-budget genre fare (ie. exploitation cinema, horror, sci-fi, etc.) to fill movie-houses, major studios similarly produce countless clones/rip-offs/knock-offs of well-known movie formula to audiences every year. Wether by coincidence, design, or a combination of the two, it would seem that lower-budget production houses turn to Hollywood – and vice versa – in their efforts to find a successful business model.
Some of the Roger Corman productions, such as “Battle Beyond the Stars” is a surprisingly good, high-quality rip-off/homage to both “Star Wars” and “Seven Samurai”/”The Magnificent Seven” penned by independent filmmaker John Sayles who has made a name for himself since the late 80s as a writer-director of character-driven dramas and comedies. Similarly, many directors have secured a place for themselves in the Hollywood industry by adapting and remaking foreign imports. Inversely, many international directors have made a name of themselves in their home countries by putting their own spin on major American films.