By Kyran Leahy – Film & TV Editor
Without any sugar-coating, it is fair to say that January 2021 was a month of complete chaos. We tried to leave the sour taste of 2020 behind us, but it only seemed to have accelerated. While we have been stuck at home because of Lockdown 3.0, which has been The Godfather III of lockdowns, a lot happened this month both in Ireland and abroad. In thirty-one days, we witnessed the storming of the Capitol, the second impeachment of Donald Trump, the inauguration of Joe Biden, Elon Musk becoming the richest man in the world, the breakdown of Kim and Kanye’s marriage, and Stephen Donnelly uniting the nation on Twitter with a thumbs up emoji. Despite all the mayhem, there was one specific incident that you could not get away from, and that was the “GameStop Hedge Fund Massacre of 2021”, courtesy of a bunch of average joes on Reddit working together to play Wall Street at its own game.
Now, I am still not fully sure how it happened or how Wall Street operates. I have watched movies like The Big Short and The Wolf of Wall Street many times while trying desperately to understand many explanations, but the only stock market I am knowledgeable of is the one with turnips on Animal Crossing: New Horizons. This story, however, has sparked the interest of many people. In every form of social media that you logged in to, you were bound to witness a conversation over what was happening. It was on every news channel, it sparked hundreds of memes, it was inescapable. Unfortunately, one thing that always comes with a global phenomenon is someone in Hollywood trying desperately to capitalise on it, and that is what is happening right now.
Rather spontaneously, two movies based on the Wall Street pandemonium have already been greenlit by both Netflix and MGM. Netflix’s movie will be written by The Hurt Locker’s screenwriter, Mark Boal, while MGM’s will be adapted from a book that has not even been written yet. The writer of the book that inspired The Social Network, Ben Mezrich, has already
begun putting pen to paper for a book based on the GameStop stock fiasco, but that has not even reached its conclusion yet. No one knows the ending of this story yet, no one knows the full backstory of any of the people involved, and no one knows how far this will even go. Noah Centineo, known for his role in the To All the Boys trilogy, was cast in the main role of the Netflix movie, but who exactly is the main character in this Wall Street fiasco? While the movie productions are still in early days, the idea that inspired the movies is as well. By the time the movies can finally complete production and get a release date, the GameStop hedge fund drama will be old news.
This is not the first time that Hollywood has rushed quickly to capitalise on global topics, and it will not be the last. Just last year, the king of chaos himself, Michael Bay, decided it would be a good idea to produce a movie based on the Covid-19 pandemic, while still in the Covid-19 pandemic. There was absolutely no need for Songbird to be written and released a mere few months after the world was turned upside down, but when Michael Bay is involved — anything can happen. The aforementioned The Social Network was released only a year after the book The Accidental Billionaires was published, with production beginning three months after its release. It almost seems like every single global sensation will have a Hollywood script written, with only a handful of them seeing the light of the day. Usually, an event or person who is shot into the spotlight gets courted for a major picture. There were sudden talks of a Jamie Vardy movie being released shortly after he broke a Premier League goalscoring record, but five years on there is still no sign.
With thousands of movies released worldwide each year, there are bound to be less and less ideas available the more movies are being produced. That is why remakes have become such a strong staple in the movie industry – they do not need any new ideas, just modernisation. Some screenwriters and companies rely on a big fad to sweep the world in order to create new ideas for a movie. The only problem with that, however, is once the movie is released, most of the craze is already gone. You can find box office and critical success in timeless trends such as The Social Network and The Angry Birds Movie, or you can end up with an outdated stinker like Slender Man or any movie inspired by a viral YouTube star (remember Fred: The Movie?). No one knows what is in store for this knee-jerk reaction Wall Street movie, or if it will even get released. What is certain is that trends come and go, and companies will always try to capitalise on them.