Hollywood Hopes to Take Films About GameStop to the Moon
At least three feature films could come out of the story, in which retail traders mostly operating on the WallStreetBets subreddit bought and held massive amounts of GameStop stock in an attempted “short squeeze” — a play that would’ve forced financial institutions that had bet against GameStop to buy back shares at outrageously inflated prices. While the stock price of the video games retailer rose over $400 last week, the squeeze (in meme parlance) was never quite squoze, and the price has since plummeted to about $60.
The tale quickly took on the tenor of a righteous class war: Everyday investors vs. billionaire hedge funds, the underdogs using tactics not dissimilar to those on Wall Street to get a little payback for the 2008 financial collapse. (Never mind the fact that while one hedge fund that had shorted GameStop did need to be bailed out by another firm, the biggest winner was probably the financial behemoth BlackRock.) Still, the contours of the story were ripe for content, and several Hollywood studios were quick to act.
On January 31st, MGM acquired the rights to a book proposal for The Antisocial Network by bestselling author Ben Mezrich (the actual book deal was finalized a few days later with Grand Central Publishing). Based on reports, The Antisocial Network will broadly center around the WallStreetBets subreddit, chronicling its rise and last week’s mayhem, though the specifics remain unclear. The book is expected to arrive later this fall, though there is no timeline for the movie. Mezrich’s book about M.I.T. card counters, Bringing Down the House, was previously turned into the film 21, while The Accidental Billionaires served as the basis for David Fincher’s Facebook flick, The Social Network.
It was also reported that Netflix was in talks with Zero Dark Thirty screenwriter Mark Boal for a film that would star Noah Centineo. And Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the founder of WallStreetBets, Jaime Rogozinski, had sold his life rights to Brett Ratner’s RatPac Entertainment (Ratner, it should be noted, has been accused sexual harassment and assault by multiple women; Ratner has denied the claims). RatPac reportedly paid Rogozinski a fee in the low six figures, and the studio plans to dramatize the story of his role in the GameStop saga.
Capping it all off, Variety reported that the documentary film and TV studio XTR has linked up with the production company Optimist for a documentary project on WallStreetBets. Chris Temple is attached to direct with Zach Ingrasci, and they’ve already launched a Kickstarter fundraiser and started conducting interviews. On Friday, yet another GameStop project was announced, with HBO teaming with producers Andrew Ross Sorkin and BlumHouse’s Jason Blum on a film, Variety reports.)
This flurry of deals, however, soon led to tension among WallStreetBets moderators. As The New York Times reported, screen grabs from private chats among some moderators were leaked last week, showing conversations about how to best capitalize on the attention. Some users soured at the idea of some profiting off the forum’s notoriety, while Mashable also reported an attempted “coup” by some old mods who came out of the woodwork to try to wrest control of the subreddit.
Ultimately, Reddit was forced to step in, with an employee using the name sodypop telling the moderators in a message Friday, “After reviewing this situation based on input from both current and past moderators, we have decided to remove several moderators at the top of the list that were creating instability in the community.”