Magnolia acquires FREAKONOMICS documentary

Will Schiffelbein

by: Will Schiffelbein
April 5th, 2010

It seems that this year, film festivals aren’t the avenue studios are taking to find new and interesting movies to distribute for the general public. Each of these festivals only has a few films that find wide distribution. But, there is a film playing at the Tribeca film festival that will have the benefit of a wider release. Magnolia has picked up FREAKONOMICS, the documentary based on the bestselling book, for a distribution deal.

Freakonomics is the immensely popular book which precisely fuses the worlds of economics and American culture. The book has sold over four million copies, and rightfully so. I read it back in 2006 and was completely enthralled. There is a chapter solely devoted to the correlation between the Roe V. Wade court case and the decrease in crime of the 1990s.  Another chapter concerns the economic intrigue of drug dealers, where it examines the hierarchy of these criminal cartels.

The film is apparently based on the book’s ideas, as it looks to make the economic system easier to understand by comparing to real cultural phenomenon. While it doesn’t expect to make economics a mainstream obsession, it does introduce ideas that were once thought to be too complicated for contemporary society and make them much more accessible.

I commend Magnolia on this decision, as the most alarming trend in recent industry history is the decreasing faith in public intellect. Studios have catered more and more toward the lowest common denominator and they’ve all but forgotten the significant portion of the populace which thirsts for intellectual stimulation through cinema.

Look for a fall theatrical release, and if it’s anything like the book, it’ll definitely be worth checking out.

Source: Magnolia Pictures

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