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Dueling GameStop Movies Are Already in the Works at MGM and Netflix

Do you still need an easy explanation of the big stonk story? Look for the movie version soon by way of the author of ‘The Social Network’ OR by the writer of ‘Zero Dark Thirty.’
GameStop movie
Mike Mozart via Wikimedia Commons
By  · Published on February 1st, 2021

The biggest story of last week is already primed to be a big movie in the near future. According to Deadline, MGM is developing a movie about the GameStop short squeeze, which shook Wall Street, Washington, and the American zeitgeist in late January due to Reddit users’ influence on the stock market. Ben Mezrich, who previously wrote the books that became 21 and The Social Network (and an upcoming film about Bitcoin), quickly proposed his next nonfiction work, to be about the GameSpot stock (or stonk) story) and which he’s titling The Antisocial Network. And just as fast, MGM has secured the screen rights.

Connections to The Social Network go further than the author and title, though. Michael De Luca, the new head of MGM, also produced David Fincher’s Facebook movie. And the Winklevoss Twins, a.k.a. Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss, who are portrayed in The Social Network by two-times-the-Armie Hammer, are on board The Antisocial Network as executive producers (their only feature production credits before this are on the recommended 2020 sports documentary A Most Beautiful Thing). The Winklevoss brothers were critical of attempts to squash the short squeeze last week, so their influence could be key.

In the midst of the story going viral on social media, many people joked about how soon we’d be getting the movie version — a large percentage of this group also admitted the need for something like The Big Short just to help explain the story to laymen audiences. Fortunately, even without Adam McKay breaking things down with his brand of expositional entertainment or David Fincher providing lasting thematic insight into the story, The Antisocial Network will still be a project with prestige. The adaptation will be led by Oscar-nominated Arrival producer Aaron Ryder, whose credits also include The Founder and Pieces of a Woman.

Now they just need a writer and a director who can properly visualize what’s so far been a very abstract story. What’s cinematic about some rebels on Reddit trading stocks? How many schadenfreude-driven shots of hedge fund capitalists in tears can make a feature film? Mezrich will surely find the best characters involved to base a narrative around, and then it’ll be up to Hollywood to cast appropriately. If I can make one suggestion: Adam Sandler as Little Nicky should play Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev.

How long should we expect for the movie to come out? Let’s look at the timeline on The Social Network: Mezrich’s book The Accidental Billionaires was first reported about in July 2008 by Gawker, who’d gotten a leak of the proposal in May of that year. The movie deal was in the news by December, the book was published in July 2009, The Social Network began filming in October of that year, and it premiered in September 2010. So let’s look for The Antisocial Network in theaters sometime in 2023.

The next question to ask is whether or not MGM’s movie will beat Netflix’s version to release. That’s right, just when we thought the Mezrich adaptation news was fast, a second GameStop movie was announced, also via Deadline. This one is being set up at the streaming giant with Oscar-winning producer and screenwriter Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker) in mind for the script and rising star Noah Centineo set to star in “a major role.” When it comes to dueling projects, Boal is a safe bet given he won the Osama Bin Laden manhunt movie competition with Zero Dark Thirty.

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.