Hollywood is keen to turn the financial story of the year into a feature-length film, as at least two studios have put it into development.
You might not think that Reddit or the stock market would make for the most cinematic of subjects, much less a combination of the two, but the GameStop short squeeze has changed all that and we’re eagerly anticipating the results.
Deadline has reported that both Netflix and MGM have started development on movies about the unfolding events. The former is said to be a project written by Mark Boal (Zero Dark Thirty, The Hurt Locker) about the levelling power of social media (for better or worse) that may also address the recent riot at the US Capitol building. The latter is based on the rights to an as-yet unwritten book entitled The Antisocial Network by Ben Mezrich, whose previous book was a main source for the David Fincher movie The Social Network.
In case you haven’t been following the news (or have, but still can’t get your head around the details), allow me to explain to the best of my own limited ability.
GameStop is the biggest video game retailer in the US, but the company’s been on a downward slope for some time. Hedge funds saw an opportunity to make money from its misfortune by “shorting” the stock; that is, betting on the price of that stock incurring a decrease over time. But members of the subreddit r/wallstreetbets had other ideas, and bought so much GameStop stock that its market price drastically increased, leaving the hedge funds facing heavy losses from their backfired bet.
u can’t sell houses u don’t own— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 28, 2021
u can’t sell cars u don’t own
u *can* sell stock u don’t own!?
this is bs – shorting is a scam
legal only for vestigial reasons
Since then, the reactions and recriminations have snowballed. Elon Musk, co-founder of Tesla, has encouraged and revelled in the upset. Amateur investment app Robinhood suspended trading on GameStop, only to face a backlash from its userbase who argued that it was trying to protect the rich and powerful from the results of their own greed.
It’s not hard to see why Hollywood has been attracted to such a compelling story, but it’s important to note that we still haven’t reached the end of it yet, and Newton’s Third Law of Motion is likely to come back to bite some of the small-time investors who hopped on the hype train too late.
While The Big Short (the hit film based on the 2008 financial crisis) featured Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, and Christian Bale in lead roles, the Reddit movie might not have quite the same charismatic eye-candy on screen, for obvious reasons. All I’m saying is that Michael Cera’s agent should be sitting by his phone right about now.