And where is the movie about Bitcoin?
Silicon Valley has received a lot of attention from Hollywood over the last decade or so. Hollywood has scored a few big hits that have seen the number of films steadily increasing over the years. These hits were either autobiographies about Silicon Valley entrepreneurs or just stories that are loosely based on reality.
But what is our fascination with Silicon Valley and why hasn’t there been a movie about Bitcoin yet? In this article, we aim to take a look.
Hollywood movies and Silicon Valley
Hollywood shares one major thing in common with Silicon Valley, and that of course, is money. Tinsel Town is in effect the major money side to the global film industry. Nowhere is this more apparent than with Hollywood’s obsessive need to cash in on remakes and sequels to try to squeeze every last drop of money out of past successes.
Over the past decade or so, Hollywood has begun to cash in on foreign movies such as The Ring and Dark Water in ever greater proportions. All this proves just what a money focused industry Hollywood truly is.
It is perhaps, therefore, no surprise that Hollywood would turn its gaze to Silicon Valley. After all, it has made a number of films such as Wall Street and The Wolf of Wall Street that cover the industries such as the financial markets. So naturally it can use this commonality over making huge sums of money as ground to explore the tech industry also. The question was, how can you make a hit movie about people who were considered ‘geeks’ at school?
Let’s take a look at Hollywood movies about Silicon Valley to find out:
Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)
Way back in 1999, a movie came out that was really the first big Silicon Valley movie. There had been lots of movies prior to this that were in some way computer technology focused but Pirates of Silicon Valley was the first one to focus exclusively on the industry.
The film was released during the Dot-com bubble, shortly prior to it bursting. Pirates of Silicon Valley tells the tale of the real life battle between the two giants of Silicon Valley, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Recounting the early days of both Microsoft and Apple, the film scored received a good level of critical success and did ok at the box office. Pirates of Silicon Valley was the movie that really sparked Hollywood’s interest in Silicon Valley.
After a few really appalling Silicon Valley movies, Hollywood released Antitrust in 2001. The film stars Tim Robbins as a kind of evil Bill Gates and a young Ryan Phillippe as the intern he hires. It presents an interesting portrait of the cut throat, masochistic behavior that these individuals engage in to reach the top. In many ways the film’s themes mirror the great battle that goes on in Pirates of Silicon Valley, where companies steal each other’s ideas and step on whoever they have to as they clamor for the top spot.
The Social Network (2010)
It wasn’t until 2010 that Hollywood finally hit the big time with a Silicon Valley movie. Big name director David Fincher decided to make a film about the life of Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. The film takes place mostly in the very early days of Facebook when Zuckerberg steals the idea for the site from two fellow students. As the company begins to grow, we see his true ruthlessness emerge as he rips off friends and does everything he can to reach the top. The film gave Jesse Eisenberg his big break for his fantastic portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg.
After the death of Steve Jobs it was not surprising that Hollywood would leap at the idea of making a biography. Jobs scored very highly with critics and audiences alike who flocked to the film in droves. To date, it is Hollywood’s best earning film about Silicon Valley and caused a gold rush to make other films and TV series’ about the industry. Countless numbers of Silicon Valley TV series such as The Silicon Valley Show and Silicon Valley have appeared in only the last few years, many of which have been hits.
Where next for Hollywood and Silicon Valley?
All this recent success undoubtedly points to more Hollywood films being made about Silicon Valley in the future. It is interesting to note that aside from three or four major films, Hollywood has found it hard to pin down a winning formula for the Silicon Valley film. Most of its hits have been -autobiographies about the well-known Silicon Valley titans. A recent comedy called Why Him (2016) performed quite well at the box office, though it received only average critical acclaim.
The most recent successes with the Silicon Valley theme have occurred with a run of reasonably good TV series’. Silicon Valley seemed to pin down a good formula with its mixture of lighthearted comedy and semi interesting plot development.
The core problem to nailing a good formula for this industry is that most of the interesting stuff resides in topics that are simply too complicated or uninteresting for the average viewer. That is why the ‘human interest’ side to these often ruthless and highly unappealing characters has so far been the only way Hollywood has found to make them a hit.
Though there has been a number of good documentaries regarding the rise of Bitcoin, this is also perhaps the reason why there has yet to be a Hollywood film made about the meteoric rise of this cryptocurrency.
One possible avenue for Hollywood to explore is to try to discover and create a movie about Bitcoin’s founder Satoshi Nakamoto whose identity is to this date is still unknown. Considering that Satoshi Nakamoto still owns around 5% of the total number of Bitcoin, there is also a money angle for Hollywood to get its teeth into as well.
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