Twin films — movies with similar premises released right on top of each other – pop up once in a while. Armageddon and Deep Impact in 1998. Antz and A Bug’s Life that very same year. There are currently duelling Leonard Bernstein biopics in the works. There’s even been a documentary example recently, with competing Netflix and Hulu documentaries, Fyre and Fyre Fraud, released within a week of each other a few years ago.
Well the very same thing looks to be happening again in the documentary sphere, and again involving Netflix.
Within 24 hours, Netflix announced it had acquired a new documentary about the Boeing 737-Max air disasters from filmmaker Rory Kennedy (Last Days In Vietnam), while Participant is prepping a feature doc directed by Barak Goodman and Rachel Dretzin, and produced by Don Edkins, who lost his son in one of the plane crashes.
Per Variety, Kennedy’s film was originally developed as a series but will now air on Netflix as a feature. The untitled film will examine how two new aircrafts crashed within five months, killing 346 people. In addition to the human cost, the film will explore how these tragedies have forever changed Boeing’s reputation, both within the aviation community, and among consumers.
Participant’s documentary will reportedly be told through the lens of several family members as they crusade for justice and answers. The film will examine how Boeing became obsessed with its short-term financial goals at the expense of safety and how America’s regulatory system failed in its duty to protect the flying public.
So it sounds like we may be getting competing documentaries taking different approaches to the material, similar to the competing Fyre Festival documentaries a few years ago. However the films are tackled, don’t expect Boeing to come out looking particularly good.