A stage play, a movie, and a comic book can all have the same plot. And this despite being very different mediums physically, and even if they are set in completely different fictional universes.
Consider the following:
- a traditional stage adaptation of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet",
- the 90s gangster adaptation "Romeo + Juliet",
- the exact same story but placed in Medieval Japan between warring Samurai clans.
- a hypothetical cartoon version with the exact same story, but with none of the original dialogue, and where the Montagues and the Capulets are replaced by the Carebears and the Avengers where the 2 protagonists are BFFs instead of lovers.
They would all have the same plot - and this plot would be an objective entity - yet this plot doesn't seem to have any concrete existence nor do the individual performances refer to any physical objects or events in common. It is even possible that the author of the Japanese tragedy had no knowledge of Shakespeare at all, and the fact that the plot is the same is pure coincidence, and yet people would still recognize it as having something in common with the Shakespeare play.
So what exactly is the ontological status of a plot? Scientific theories and abstract social constructs at least refer to general classes of real world physical objects, but story plots don't, yet still seem to have some real existence? How can one be a "movie plot realist"?
If movie plots aren't real, then what empirical fact do they reflect that allows us to determine that the plot in the above mentioned 4 example is the same? Does the reality of story plots have any implications for other forms of realism?