The First $2.5 Thousand Is the Hardest

Last year, I wrote about the film adaptation of Po Bronson’s The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest, a pre-crash novel about dot-com entrepreneurs trying to build and market a sub-$300 PC. If you missed the release of the movie, you weren’t alone. Greg Knauss informed me that it was released last year, but IMDB says it only opened on two screens, grossing a whopping $2,535 in its opening weekend.

Rather than keep it as a period piece, they apparently tried to write in the dot-com crash into the storyline and changed the invention to a sub-$99 device (because of the availability of sub-$300 PCs?). According to the reviews, this was the least of their transgressions. The movie is supposed to be terrible, but I’ll likely still rent it (if I can find it) because of this Onion review: “A sloppy, strangely fascinating footnote to the dot-com explosion, it would make for a terrific ‘Remember The Bubble’ double feature with the similarly misbegotten AntiTrust.”


    How does it compare to the book? I’ve read it several times now, and I love it.

    I’d hate to think they trashed it for the movie 🙁

    It’s quite a fun little movie. And the idea behind the $99 computer is quite interesting. There’s heaps of movies out there that have been released that are a lot worse than this. There’s a few out loud laughs to be had and is definitely worth the rental. Sure, there are very stereotypical characters, but what movie hasn’t these days?

    It’s in heavy rotation on cable right now and is pure AWFUL. The magic of “The First $20 million” was the notion of big ideas. The hypnotizer code (uhhh, Java) represents a digital embodiment of idealism. What the movie represents is scooby doo mixed with revenge of the nerds. You know how most technology movies get at least one geeky detail wrong? This flick so thoroughly glosses over the crux of the book to be worthy of 14 year old viewers that you’d be happy if they even mention TCP/IP improperly.

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