Coming Soon: Hollywood Analysts Predict 2009 the Year of the Wall Street Villain at the Box Office
Get your popcorn ready - that is if you like seeing the rich portrayed as bad guys and getting punished for their indiscretions.
According to CNBC contributor Michael Wolff, a Vanity Fair contributing editor, that's what's in store for movie fans in the upcoming year. On the Dec. 29 "CNBC Reports," Wolff told CNBC Business News managing editor Tyler Mathisen that Hollywood is greenlighting a spate of films featuring Wall Street heavies, and these projects are coming sooner than later.
"I think as fast as possible," Wolff said. "Every script in the business is now recasting itself - rich people are bad people."
CNBC media and entertainment correspondent Julia Boorstin noted one movie was already on the way.
"Michael, I have to say I got a sneak preview of a movie called ‘The International,' which is about the International Bank of Credit or something like this," Boorstin said. "And it's coming out in February from Sony Columbia. And the bad guy is a bank. It's a bank that doesn't want to control money, it wants to control the debt. And when I was sitting in the screening, my jaw dropped because it seemed like it was touching on the issue that is concerning so many of our viewers - the management of debt and what happens if people who control the debt are bad guys."
According to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), that's not quite all "The International" entails. The summary of the movie reports plot elements of money laundering and arms trading with the intention of destabilizing governments -- much different than the bailout culture and the recently acknowledged Bernard Madoff scandal that is plaguing the image of Wall Street.
But Wolff still insisted that the class envy blame game will still be the theme in many motion pictures in 2009. "I think we're going to see this throughout the year," he said. "This is the ... if it is not escapist, it's going to be ‘you're to blame.'"
Wolff's media forecasts should be eyed with some skepticism, however. Earlier in 2008, Wolff told CNBC's "Street Signs" the success of conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh would be coming to an end with the rise of Barack Obama, then a candidate for president.
And Wolff, commenting on the motion picture industry as an expert, also admitted he hadn't seen a single movie during 2008."Here it is - in the year 2008, I didn't see one movie," Wolff added. "Not one movie."