Repo! or Repo Men? Which Came First? Bousman Speaks Out!

Repo! The Genetic Opera on DVD and Blu-ray (click for larger image)While doing some early publicity interviews for his work on the upcoming Mother’s Day, director Darren Bousman has also been dealing with a little bit of a sticky situation.

There’s been a lot of speculation amongst the fanbase regarding the similarities between Universal’s upcoming film Repo Men and Bousman’s own Repo! The Genetic Opera. Given that both films were in production at roughly the same time, people are wondering which came first.

Over on Bousman has addressed the situation once and for all. We recommend you head on over and check it out as it’s a really interesting read. One that will hopefully put all the speculation and chatter quietly to bed.

Coincidence? Rip-off? Decide for yourself. Either way, we’re sure both films will have their fans, but I think that Repo!‘s fanbase will remain the most vocal and loving for many years to come. We’ll see how Repo Men fares for itself on March 19th.

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  • RepoMan5000

    It’s hard to tell for sure whether or not Repo Men ripped off Repo! Opera, but the amount of similarities just seems way too high to chalk up to just coincidence.

    The whole situation is just depressing and maddening for Repo! Opera fans, but I think the best thing to do is just to keep spirits high, keep supporting the Repo! in any way possible, and keep spreading the word and talking about it.


  • elric300


  • Morgan Elektra

    I had wondered about this. I think it does bare noting that given the incredibly slow pace of the publishing industry a book published in 2009 was probably written at the very least in 2008. Once a manuscript is accepted for publication, it generally takes 10-18 months until it’s on the shelves – unless you’re a name like Stephen King. So if it was published in April ’09 and we take the high end of that then it then we’re talking end of ’07/beginning of ’08. Considering he published pretty consistently from 1999-2004, one would wonder why it wasn’t published sooner if he had it around – publishing can be slow but usually not 5 years slow especially when you’ve already got a deal with a major publisher like Random House. So I think it’s safe to say he wrote it somewhere between 2005 (at the earliest) and 2008 (at the latest).

    Which still doesn’t put it earlier than Bousman’s timeline. And I can’t for the life of me imagine why a house as big as HarperCollins wouldn’t be aware of the risks of putting this book out there after Repo! came out.

  • Terminal

    Okay so is he saying Repo! came out first and that they ripped it off or is he firmly remaining on the fence preferring not to throw accusations? Because if it’s the latter, it’s quite disappointing.

    • Nomad

      Spooky Dan wrote a big piece on the topic where he compares the book Reposession Mombo to Repo and that is pretty clear cut. Def worth a read.

      • G.D.

        Wow, really? Clear cut? Most of the comparison points are ridiculous. They both use repo tactics? They both use anti-rejection drugs? They both knock out the victims before repossessing the organs? Wow, really? They’re both about repossessing organs, of course they’re going to use aspects or organ donation and repossession.

        Artificial eyes? Well guess what? If you’re doing a story about artificial organ implants, there’s really only so many organs that you can use, aren’t there? And it’s not like there’s never been a character with an artificial eye in a movie before. Not exactly original no matter which one came first…

        They both use cliche plot points like estranged children and man on the run from his employers? WOW. Well, I guess that’s case closed, isn’t it?

        The killer is that Repo Men having the guy reference music is a rip-off of Repo! because Repo! is a musical! Really? Are you F*CKING KIDDING ME?

        A quick trip to wikipedia says that Repo Mambo started development in 2003. Unless someone can prove that the writer saw Repo! in it’s small Hollywood run, then the point is moot. It’s entirely possible that two writers had the idea of repo men who repo body parts (hell, I have a notebook of ideas from high school -about 15 years ago, I guess they both ripped me off!- that has pretty much the same idea and I grew up in Northern Ontario and hadn’t heard of Repo! or the Mambo until I heard about both of them filming in Toronto). Doing BASIC research will get you simple ideas like scalpels, anti-rejection drugs and using gas to knock out the patient. Meanwhile, some of the plot points are similar, but they’re also VERY well-trod cliches.

        If Mambo ripped off Repo! by having an estranged family member then I guess Repo! ripped off Die Hard, didn’t it?

        As far as the marketing goes, there’s no doubt that some aspects of the Repo! marketing were ripped off, but marketing people are the least creative people in the world, of course they’re going to steal stuff from other, successful movies. That’s called Hollywood. MArketing has very little to do with filmmaking, so those aren’t even really related.

        I don’t know if Repo Men ripped off Repo! but that article was a waste of space and a waste of time and it clearly had an agenda.

        • RepoMan5000

          I’ve tried to remain as diplomatic as possible on this situation, but I gotta admit, so many similarities piled atop one another seem quite suspicious to me.

          I mean, certain similarities seem weak as sole arguments, but when you stack them all on top of each other it seems just a little too close to be a coincidence.

          BOTH heavily involved:

          A future-
          Repo Opera in 2056
          Repo Men in 2057…

          -where companies will provide organ transplants on payment plans and if you miss payments, they’ll send the Repo Man to reclaim them…

          Okay, fine.

          Eventually the corporation turns on their Repo Man and he has to go on the run (one of our protagonists).


          Both stories’ Repo Men are Fathers who one way or another rendered their wives dead and have strained relationships with their estranged children partly due to what happened with their wives..


          Both Repo Men’s careers were setups..

          Repo! Opera has a drug for transplants called Zyrdate, which is more commonly known by it’s street name “Z”. Many people get “Z” off the streets as a recreational drug. “Z” is a bright, glowing, blue liquid.

          Repo Men has a drug for transplants called “Q”.. People use “Q” as a recreational drug. “Q” is a bright, sparkling, red powder….

          The eye transplant thing alone would not have bothered me at all due to the nature of the stories, but it’s the fact that both movies have eye transplants with shutter lenses, recording capability, high resolution enhancement, etc. Both stories involve people watching a memory recorded on someone’s eyes…

          Both stories involve a strange outsider/graverobber who has access to street (Z or Q, respectively) and who provide aid to one of the main characters, helping them hide from pursuers.

          Several parts of the ad campaign for Repo Men are pretty glaring ripoffs of Repo! Opera ads over the years.

          On top of all this, the Book, Repossession Mambo was only finished and published in March of 2009 (several months after Repo! Opera had already come out in theatres.)

          I haven’t been able to find a consistent account of when Garcia started working on the book (which was written, apparently, simultaneously with some of his screenplay). Recently, I’ve seen 2003 which is 3 years after they first started public performances of the first iteration of Repo! Opera (at that time, The NecroMerchant’s Debt).

          Plus, the show had already somewhat expanded (with Bousman now involved) for a bigger production in 2002.

          in 2005 Repo! Opera did a production off broadway.

          Plus, the Repo! Opera script was pitched to studios who all apparently loved the idea, but were strongly against the musical aspect. Plus a short film version of a few songs was shown to many Hollywood execs to further pitch the idea in a more tangible way in hopes for some better understanding and to get the film made..

          Darren Bousman and Terrance Zdunich have both been quite graceful in their respective responses to Repo Men and I commend them for that.

          Is Repo Men a ripoff of Repo! The Genetic Opera? I don’t know for sure, but as more of these “coincidences” pile on top of each other, it’s certainly difficult not to entertain the idea.

          Plus, for Repo! Opera fans, knowing the story of just what it took to get Repo! Opera made, combined with how much the fans have fought and rallied for the love of this film, its legacy, and its filmmakers, it is really hard not to be mad at the situation, when another movie comes in with so many similarities and is in a position to easily get wider support and recognition. Plus, Repo Men and Repossession Mambo have indirectly led (as Darren stated in his blog) to misconceptions about Repo! Opera and its own history in the general public eye.

          Stolen or not, I don’t know for sure. But as I said.. with this many similarities.. It’s very hard for me to still believe it’s all just coincidence..