Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures
The next two weeks are going to be great for moviegoers, with the opening of such hotly anticipated films as Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, the girl-power comedy You Again and the vampire flick Let Me In. But the hottest star at the box office isn't Michael Douglas, Sigourney Weaver or even Justin Timberlake -- it's Facebook.
The super-popular website that you just looked at (and will probably check again once you finish reading this) takes front and center in The Social Network, which early reviews are calling the best movie of the year. The film, written by Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing) and directed by David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), is a partly true, partly fictional retelling of the origins of Facebook by two Harvard students -- one of whom would eventually make billions and leave his friend in the dust. It's a pretty daring idea for a movie, and it could have easily been an awful one. So far, everyone seems to think it's terrific -- but will people really line up to see a movie about Facebook?
And The Social Network isn't the only movie that features Facebook. Acclaimed indie documentary Catfish, about a guy who falls in love with a mysterious girl he meets on the site. Keep in mind that Facebook has only existed for six-and-a-half years; it's still new, and no one's sure whether it's going to be around in a few years. Can you imagine if someone had made a movie about Friendster, back when it was the next big thing? By the time the film hit theaters, it would already have been obsolete. The idea of making a MySpace movie, or a Tumblr movie, sounds crazy.
But Facebook is different, in that it changed the way we live very quickly, on a massive scale. All of a sudden, we can be in constant contact with every single person we've ever met (the site now boasts over 500 million active users). High school friends are no longer hard to track down; your favorite novelist or actor may even be just a message-click away. Facebook is something no one could have imagined even a generation ago. And yet, it's real. We're living in the future. And movies love to speculate about the future.
In the '50s, nuclear-mutated monsters, space-travelling aliens, and deadly robots were popping up as villains. In the '80s, Videodrome showed the dark side of VCRs, and in the '90's and '00s it Sandra Bullock vehicle The Net, feardotcom and Pulse made the internet evil. But we can't remember a time before The Social Network when Hollywood has embraced a new technology so quickly -- without turning it into a monster.
So is a Twitter movie next? We wouldn't rule it out. If The Social Network does well, we could start seeing a lot of new movies about people's relationships with the internet. Welcome to the future, everybody!
Do you plan to see The Social Network? Chime in below!