This is America, the land of freedom and opportunity — even if sometimes that freedom and opportunity can be bought and sold at any moment by the faceless conglomerates who look down on us all like we're medieval serfs. No, this isn’t a "99 percent" rant from a millennial who just can’t seem to catch a break. Instead, I decided to take a look at two of the things that make this country so great: movies and the corporations whose ethics are based on a class I took in business college for the sole purpose of trying to get that cute hippie chick to notice them. (Corporations have a very particular taste in women.)
I’ve decided to be a good little consumer by counting down the top 10 fictional companies from movies. To be honest, a lot of these industries were adapted from other sources, but the way I figure it, it’s only right to acknowledge those enterprises that were able to branch out into a new market — it’s what Uncle Sam and Steve Jobs would have wanted. So, without further ado, grab your favorite power tie, sit back and prepare to get your synergy on. It’s time for us to tip our hats to the free market, and even if it’s all make-believe, that is one hell of a bull market, my friends.
10. Wonka Industries (Charlie And The Chocolate Factory)
No other company in cinema was able to send the population of the world into a crazed frenzy like Wonka Industries. For a chance to get a tour of the fabled candy factory, people were practically rioting in the streets. Men were punching babies, women were knifing Boy Scouts and the elderly were left to fend for themselves. (I wasn't paying much attention to the beginning of this movie.)
In fact, it’s probably safe to assume that there were a number of candy-related deaths that occurred as people hunted for the legendary golden ticket. Not only that but even after entering the factory, the company was able to cover up a number of horrific accidents that left children permanently maimed and deformed. Now that’s real power. To top it off, the corporation is run by an eccentric recluse, and we all know that crazy makes the big bucks, which is why we kicked off our list with a company that feeds off childhood obesity and diabetes (the Gene Wilder one, not the Johnny Depp one).
9. Hudsucker Industries (The Hudsucker Proxy)
Talk about a gross abuse of power. When the CEO of this company decides to up and off himself at a board meeting (more like bored meeting, am I right?), the man left in charge decides that the only solution is to run the company into the ground by appointing an absolute moron to the newly vacant position. The only problem? Well, morons helped shape this country into the powerhouse that it is. You could probably even get away with saying that America was built on the backs of morons (though I wouldn’t say it too loudly, especially in the South). So, of course, the guy makes all the right decisions and even manages to make Hudsucker even more profitable by creating the ultimate product. You know, for kids?
So, Paul Newman does the only thing a reasonable, well-respected company man can do and decides to drag Tim Robbins's name through the mud and ruin him. It makes perfect sense because they teach two upper-level courses on it at Harvard Business School (only one at Yale). In the end, modern industry wins out with the help of some sage advice from a elderly janitor. The only thing I learned from the movie is to make sure you get double-stitched pants. You never know when they might save your life.
8. Paper Street Soap Factory (Fight Club)
Edward Norton summed up this company's charter best when he said, “It was beautiful. We were selling rich women their own fat asses back to them.” This company is probably the most intricate of any of the ones on this list, because not only does it involve stealing medical waste from clinics, but also includes funding domestic terrorist operations. Normally, this would be shocking and appalling, but who am I to judge what the market demands? After all, I just bought shoes that were cobbled together by a 4-year-old in Cambodia and my feet have never felt better. Really, it’s like walking on a combination of clouds and shattered dreams. Besides, I’m a big fan of their HR department, which helped men to work their problems out the only way they really know how: Beating each other until someone taps or goes limp.
7. The Soylent Corporation (Soylent Green)
Perhaps the most beloved of all movie food companies is the Soylent Corporation. Offering a wide variety of not only tasty but nutritious meal options, they take the stress off at the end of a long day when all you want is to go home and enjoy dinner and watch the game. Heck, nine out of 10 moms agree that Soylent Green is the best thing to feed a growing child.
Plus, the company is always looking for new and exciting ways to spice up your options, with a new ethnic line launching this fall and the recently released Soylent Green veal served in homemade Jonathan Swift sauce. You’ve never tasted anything so succulent and tender in all your life. I could go on and on about all the wonderful meals this company has given us over the years, but it’s probably better to address that little PR incident from a few years ago. There were some terrible rumors they faced, but every mega corporation has faced slander in the past, and Soylent Green was classy with how they dealt with it. By the way: SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!
6. The Nakatomi Trading Corporation (Die Hard)
If there’s one thing you can say about old man Nakatomi, it’s that his background checks on employees are amazing. After all, the entire company is made up of the spouses of some of the biggest badasses on the planet. So, when terrorists attack, it’s pretty much guaranteed that the company will survive the bloodbath.
At least, it did in the Asian and European markets. With the divorce rate in America though, it was only a matter of time before a terrorist overpowers the dynasty. After all, what else would you expect from the incredibly stressful time of year that is Christmas? Really, the whole Die Hard thing would have been no big deal at the company barbecue at the lake. But because couples start screaming at each other, all the Navy SEALs and Green Berets were in a fight with their significant others and drinking at some dive bar. So, it was left to John McClain, the only sap still trying to save his marriage. What does he get for it? Glass feet, that’s what! No, not feet made out of glass — just watch the movie.
5. The Tyrell Corporation (Blade Runner)
With the way people are these days, it’s no wonder that there was big business in making fake ones. And with a motto like “More human than human,” it’s easy to see why The Tyrell Corporation made a fortune by building killer replicants. Yeah, The Tyrell Corporation was good at building replicants. Maybe a little too good. I’m not going to get into a philosophical discussion about the essential nature of humanity. I’ll leave it to the filthy hippies sitting outside protesting that little incident off the shoulder of Orion to argue about stuff like that.
Really, though, the key to their success lies in outsourcing. After all, if you hire James Hong to build eyes, you’re bound to save a few bucks in the long haul. Then again, your replicants do run the risk of developing emotions and going on bloody rampages ending in those around them questioning their own humanity and their moral right in "retiring" beings, no matter their origin. Great, now I’ve started talking about philosophy. This is why I’ll always be stuck in middle management.
4. Ingen (Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park: The Lost World, Jurassic Park III, And Jurassic World)
When you’re a crazy old man, you can afford to do things like walk into a board meeting and shout, “I’ve seen the future, gentlemen, and it’s dinosaurs!” So, they invested what must have been billions of dollars into research to make dinosaurs. What I didn’t see was a legal team writing up a waiver for the guests in Jurassic park. (There was that one lawyer on the island, but things didn’t end well for him — like they should for all lawyers.) After all, that’s kinda company 101, right? Then again, I’m not a billionaire.
Still, you have to admit they were really trying to corner the market on the whole dinosaur theme park thing. It would have worked great too, but they decided to make carnivores the size of semi-trucks. There must have been someone who spoke out against that. Then again, that whole mess was really Wayne Knight’s fault. After all, no company can plan for Wayne Knight.
Their second attempt at a theme park seemed to be going much better until company policy leaned a bit more towards building gigantic nightmares that were abominations unto the Lord. But it’s hard to get kid’s attention these days.
3. Weyland-Yutani (Alien, Aliens, And Prometheus)
When your company's motto is “Weyland-Yutani: Our employees are expendable,” you’re probably a company that cares more about the bottom line than anything those dorks in HR keep bringing up in meetings. This is a company that takes full advantage of the fact that no one can hear you scream in space, and because of that they probably have never had to pay out on a severance package before. In all seriousness, though, if your business practices require amoral androids to be implanted among workers just to make sure that everything goes to plan, it might be time to rethink the old business model.
Weyland-Yutani also has plenty of pull among the military to help clean up messes when those pesky potential biological weapons get out of control. The one thing that can be said to the company's credit, it’s got a pretty good track record with diversity. I mean, in their eyes it doesn’t matter what gender, race, the age you are, everyone deserves the right to be sent off on a horrifying suicide mission for the sake of third quarter profits.
2. Wayne Enterprises (Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, Batman And Robin, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, And The Dark Knight Rises)
Forbes says that Tony Stark is richer than Bruce Wayne. Well, I’m not buying it. After all, Wayne Enterprises has a much more diverse portfolio than Stark Industries. They’ve invested in all sorts of really neat R&D stuff, like tanks and junk. Also, when you have freaking Batman at the stockholders' meeting, you'd better believe no one is going to try to short sell the stock. I mean, did you see what he did to Killer Croc last week? That guy’s going to have a limp for the rest of his life, and he’s a seven-foot-two psychopath! You’re just a wormy guy with 12 shares of the company.
Besides, Batman can be a very motivating presence when he wants to be. Productivity has been up 79 percent since he started hobbling people that used Facebook on company time. It’s no wonder everyone breathes a little easier when Bruce is out for a “long weekend.”
Of course, after that whole fusion reactor thing falling into the hands of a 'roided out villain, allowing him to take the city hostage; their stock did take a bit of a hit.
1. Cyberdyne Systems Corporation (Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines, Terminator Salvation, And Terminator Genisys)
Some of the companies from earlier in this list have been pretty bad — feeding us people, hosting fight clubs, making dinosaurs — all that morally ambiguous stuff. Child’s play. When you want to play in the big leagues you make sure that you engineer the end of humanity as we know it by producing the spring line of killer robots. Then, when people keep warning you about it, you ignore them and keep right on doing what you do best. It’s the perfect embodiment of an American company. We’re going to keep doing it until we get it right — even if the world is on fire.
Besides, any business that produces an Arnold Schwarzenegger model deserves respect. I mean, who would buy that? Where would you keep it? How does it pass for human?
Also, what the Hell is up with this?
These are questions that we may never know the answers to, but I do know this: Cyberdyne is the No. 1 producer of the apocalypse, and they’ve cornered the market on it.
Just who are the faces behind these massive conglomerates? Take a look at the video below to find out:
There you have it, 10 companies that best represent big business on the big screen. Let me know in the comments which fictional movie company you’d like to work for the most!