Planet Hollywood, part 1: Mission to Mars The Space Review

It’s not exactly a revelation that Hollywood is filled with thieves and hacks who steal each others’ ideas. There are numerous examples of similar movies coming out in the same year. This happens when writers and/or studios get wind of a script circulating through Tinseltown and decide to emulate (aka “copy”, aka “steal”) it. That’s what happened back in 2000 when we were treated to not one, but two movies about missions to Mars. Before they premiered, space enthusiasts were excited that they were finally going to see reasonably realistic depictions of the near-term human exploration of Mars. The movies were Mission to Mars and Red Planet. It’s not hard to guess at the origins of both of these movies. It usually takes about two to three years to make a movie. In summer 1997 NASA’s Mars Pathfinder rover landed on the surface of the fourth rock from the Sun and gained tremendous publicity for NASA. It undoubtedly led Touchstone Pictures and Warner Brothers to greenlight Mars-themed movies. Something similar happened when comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 smashed into Jupiter in 1994; in 1998 there were two movies about saving the Earth from an incoming space rock: Armageddon and Deep Impact.