When a theatrical motion picture is expected to be widely popular, or is significantly hyped, it is not uncommon to see a cheaply made knock-off or two in rental kiosks or streaming online. Many have come to call these generic knock-offs “Mockbusters”. They are also referred to as “Drafting Opportunities” by producers that claim they are merely providing additional products for consumers interested in a particular subgenre. However, most agree that these B-movie Mockbusters are designed with the intention of exploiting a consumer’s confusion with that of the major Hollywood studio film. The major studios of course file lawsuits to varying degrees of success, which in no way ever diminishes the prevalence of Mockbusters.
When the movie Snakes on a Plane was in theaters , video stores like Blockbuster were offering Snakes on a Train. When the big budget movie Twister was spinning it’s way across the box office, a low budget movie called Tornado was whirling onto televisions, along with another cheaply made offering called Night of the Twisters
At the time a patent on a brand name drug expires, any pharmaceutical company can then produce that drug which is known as a generic. The active ingredients of the generic drug must be the same as the original brand name drug, but the exact formulation and compounds are different. Unlike the active ingredients in pharmaceuticals, ideas can not be patented. Movies and television shows are protected by copyrights that prevent the release of material that is the same formulation, but the basic idea can be used immediately, and when Hollywood has a big concept in production it usually is.