How to watch The Unofficial Entrepreneur Cinematic Universe

With animated pop culture titles like abandonment, we crashed, The social network, and more, Hollywood is very interested these days in the stories of real-world entrepreneurs. In fact, when a handful of these stories saw back-to-back major adaptations earlier this year, several commented on the trajectory of this nascent entertainment subgenre.

But another fascinating feature of this growing category is the interconnectivity between its standalone projects.

All of these movies and TV shows, again, cover the true story of big business figures. So just as these industry titans inhabit similar circles in the real world, the dramas themselves often reference each other’s stories.

Of course, the actors don’t overlap and the details often don’t add up given these adaptations’ fictionalized versions of the real story. But still, seeing them in a back-to-back timeline, they can function as a cohesive cinematic universe much in the vein of the popular Marvel Studios model.

So, for those looking to binge on titles one after another, we can try a chronological viewing order through this unique timeline. Below is an attempt to create this unofficial cinematic universe of entrepreneurs.

The founder (2016)

Set on: 1954-1961

We start our list with the Michael Keaton biopic that documents Ray Kroc’s journey working with, and ultimately surpassing, the McDonald brothers while building one of the nation’s most iconic brands.

What are some ways it connects?: Since this is the first title in the timeline, there isn’t much to refer to. However, the McDonald’s name soon becomes very relevant in future releases.

steve works (2015)

Set on: 1984-1998

Michael Fassbender portrays the famed tech CEO as Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay guides him through three key and seemingly very dramatic product launch events. While Sorkin’s script takes many liberties with the story, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak praised the film.

What are some ways it connects?: In one scene, Fassbender’s Jobs reads a quote from Microsoft’s Bill Gates. We haven’t heard this name on the timeline yet, but it’s one to watch out for.

The wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Set on: 1987-1998

Martin Scorsese takes on Wall Street in this chaotic retelling of the true story of Jordan Belfort. The film is set around the same time as Steve Jobs, and sees Leonardo Dicaprio plunge headlong into a world of success, debauchery, and ultimate downfall.

What are some ways it connects?: Here we see the first of the main connections of the timeline. At one point in the film, Belfort, in the midst of an impassioned speech, references the name McDonalds as a place his audience should work if they’re having trouble with the way things work in their world. This makes it clear that the business Ray Kroc had built was, by now, a successful household name.

The social network (2010)

Set on: 2003-2004

We enter the new millennium with The social network, another Aaron Sorkin title that does a very dramatic account of the origins of Facebook. Jesse Eisenberg plays a socially distant Mark Zuckerberg, while Andrew Garfield sells the betrayal as his friend and initial collaborator.

What are some ways it connects?: After the initial launch of The Facebook, Mark and Eduardo go to hear a guest speaker lecture on campus. This speaker is none other than Microsoft’s Bill Gates, the same Gates Fassbender Jobs quoted in his movie a few years ago.

the big bet (2015)

Set on: 2005-2007

This is technically not a founder’s story. But Adam McKay’s star-studded dramedy mostly faithfully brings to life a major economic event that would affect millions. Crucially, this felt impact would include founders and companies elsewhere on this timeline.

What are some ways it connects?: The crash of the US housing market had major implications for everyone, as is evident from future entries on this list.

Molly’s game (2017)

Set on: 2004-2014

This is Aaron Sorkin’s third title on this list, proving that the writer-director can have a preference in the kind of stories he tells. Molly Bloom’s story takes us into the fascinating world of high-stakes poker, allowing us to follow her spins through various mishaps and obstacles.

What are some ways it connects?: At one point, Molly deftly negotiates noticing the housing market down (and, interestingly enough, she has this conversation with a character played by Jeremy Strong, an actor who also appears in the big bet).

Later in the film, Molly’s father also berates her for driving a car into a fast food restaurant in her youth. That restaurant was none other than McDonalds.

abandonment (2022)

Set on: 2003-2016

abandonment brings us to the most recent round of major adaptations of fallen entrepreneurs. Amanda Seyfried brings a haunting presence to the infamous Elizabeth Holmes, who captured the heart of the world, only to lose it in extraordinary time.

What are some ways it connects?: At this point the titles begin to have many references. Holmes, of course, idolizes Steve Jobs: She has a poster of him in his room, hires people from his company, stands in line to buy the latest Apple products, and goes to an Apple Store to get his device repaired.

After seeing some initial success, Holmes also mentions meeting Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame.

At another point, some Walgreens executives talk about a new startup called Uber. And this brings us to…

super pumped (2022)

Set on: 2009-2017

super pumpedThe first season of covers the exciting story of how Travis Kalanick put Uber on the map, while dealing with some major disagreements along the way. Joseph Gordon-Levitt brings the title character to life, while a talented cast including Kyle Chandler and Uma Thurman round out the story.

What are some ways it connects?: Facebook’s influence is clear as Kalanick is called the next Zuckerberg. Also, Travis eventually butts heads with Steve Jobs’s successor at Apple, Tim Cook.

we crashed (2022)

Set on: 2010-2019

And the final entry comes with the rise and fall of co-working space titan Adam Neumann. Jared Leto plays the troubled founder with stunning intensity, while Anne Hathaway rounds out the dynamic duo.

What are some ways it connects?: In a dramatic wake-up call for Neumann, the founder turns on the TV to learn that Uber founder Kalanick had resigned from the company. The moment portends trouble for Neumann’s own future.

Again, these titles were not intended to take up space in a shared universe. And because of that, they come in very different shades and, in fact, the best to wear. But with so many recent and interconnected events being dramatized to such high quality, it can be very nice to see what new perspectives emerge from putting them all together.

And since Hollywood doesn’t seem to be slowing down on this new subgenre anytime soon, it will be fun to see where this list grows from here.

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