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Reddit’s GameStop short squeeze becomes ‘Dumb Money’ movie

The Reddit day-trader driven short squeeze of video game retailer GameStop shares back in 2021 has come back into the spotlight, serving as a central element to a new movie’s plot.

The movie that provides a telling of the January 2021 short squeeze is called “Dumb Money,” and its website describes it as the “ultimate David vs. Goliath tale.” Craig Gillespie directed the film.

Some showings for “Dumb Money” kicked off in mid-September, with the movie’s wide release scheduled for Sept. 29, according to the movie’s website. On Rotten Tomatoes, it had a “Tomatometer” critics score of 87% as of Wednesday.

GameStop store San Jose California

A GameStop video game store entrance at a strip mall in San Jose, California. (iStock / iStock)

The movie used author Ben Mezrich’s “The Antisocial Network” as the basis for its plot.

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Mezrich, who is also listed as an executive producer on “Dumb Money”, told FOX Business in an interview that he witnessed GameStop shares “going crazy” in January 2021. 

“I knew it was like a story that was not just kind of a blip,” he said. “It was an important kind of moment. And in all of my books and my movies, I try and find the origin story of something that’s going to be culturally significant years later, something that I think is going to change everything afterwards. And I saw that in this GameStop story.”

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
GMEGAMESTOP CORP.17.02-0.50-2.85%

The price of GameStop stock saw a massive increase in late January, hitting $438 as one point during Jan. 28. That happened when retail and Reddit traders went against short-sellers and hedge funds, some of whom saw some big losses, as FOX Business previously reported. 

“Of all the people I talked to, almost all of them shared this kind of feeling that the system is rigged, that something very unfair has been going on for a long time, and that the little person just can’t win,” Mezrich said. “And so I do think it’s this bubbling anger that drove it.”

“For the most part, it wasn’t about, you know, making a little bit of money. People were holding because they wanted to be part of this movement,” he continued. “And I think the movie brings that out really well, that this is really a movement, it was revolutionary, people really trying to sort of take on what they saw as a corrupt system.”

The author told FOX Business it was a “great” adaptation of his book, saying, “I think it runs close to the book in parts, and in other places it goes farther.”

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Mezrich said it followed “The Antisocial Network” in many places, such as with the plot line involving Keith Gill. That investor, portrayed by Paul Dano in the movie, was on Reddit and other social media platforms, sharing his favorable thoughts about GameStop to others who later bet on the company. 

Paul Dano

Paul Dano of “Dumb Money” attends the Sony Pictures Entertainment presentation during CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on April 24, 2023 in Las Vegas. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/WireImage / Getty Images)

Meanwhile, the author said the film “hit really hard at the Wall Street titans who are in the story in ways that maybe the book couldn’t go.”

In the movie, actors Nick Offerman, Vincent D’Onofrio and Seth Rogen all take on the task of playing Wall Street members. For Offerman, it was Citadel CEO Ken Griffin, while it was Steven Cohen and Gabe Plotkin for the others, respectively. Sebastian Stan was also cast as Vlad Tenev of Robinhood.

Robinhood and Reddit logos printed in 3D are seen near one-dollar banknotes in front of displayed GameStop logo in this illustration taken Feb. 8, 2021. (Reuters/Dado Ruvic/Illustration//File Photo / Reuters Photos)

The real-life GameStop short squeeze ultimately received some attention from federal lawmakers, with hearings held on the circumstances surrounding it. 

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The value of GameStop’s stock sat at TK by the end of Thursday’s trading, marking a TK% MOVEMENT from the start of the year and a TK% one over a 12-month span. 

In addition to GameStop, retail traders also pumped up other so-called “meme stocks” in early 2021. Those included AMC Entertainment and Bed Bath & Beyond. 

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