'Apollo 18' is the name of a screenplay written by newcomer Brian Miller that was just picked up by The Weinstein Company. Timur Bekmambetov, a man who probably holds some kind of world record for most film attachments, is on board as a producer. The story? NASA didn't actually end the Apollo space program with Apollo 17; Apollo 18 was the covert mission that discovered alarming proof of alien life.
'Dark Moon' is the name of a screenplay written by Olatunde Osunsanmi (the writer-director who created the genre/style mash-up that is 'The Fourth Kind,') that was picked up by Warner Bros. on October 18th. Akiva Goldsman is on board as a producer via his Weed Road production shingle. The story? NASA didn't actually end the Apollo space program with Apollo 17; Apollo 18 (and beyond) was the covert mission that discovered, if not proof of life, something with "unintended and disturbing consequences."
Of course competing films about similar topics are hardly a new evolutionary direction for Hollywood. Every couple of years we get a nice 'Deep Impact' and 'Armageddon' or 'Dante's Peak' and 'Volcano' situation going on, but in the case of 'Apollo 18' and 'Dark Moon' the similarities aren't quite as superficial. Not only are both films about fictitious Apollo 18 missions, but they're both going to take a "documentary" approach to the material.
When 'Dark Moon' was announced, it gave me a bit of a chuckle given the approach Osunsanmi took to 'The Fourth Kind.' Secret missions to the moon isn't an inherently bad idea for a script, but in the hands of the director who brazenly bent over backwards to convince people that 'The Fourth Kind' was, at its core, a real story, it was a tougher pill to swallow. Unless, of course, you loved 'The Fourth Kind' and love conspiracy theories, in which case 'Dark Moon' is tailor made just for you. I wasn't a big fan of 'The Fourth Kind,' however, so the idea of the same writer (Deadline's report does not mention that he will also direct 'Dark Moon') doing back-to-back movies purporting to be documentaries about the secret existence of aliens isn't all that appealing.
So I'm already a little more inclined to like the prospect of 'Apollo 18.' Sure, it's the exact same story and stylistic approach, but at least it's being done by a different creative pool. Brian Miller's script caught the eye of the Weinstein Company after winning the first annual screenplay competition at the Astana International Action Film Festival, so it's at least got some award-worthy acclaim to it.
That's just me though. Which project are you most excited about? Perhaps it's both? Or perhaps you've got no interest in faux-documentary trips to the alien-infested moon?