Science Fiction Beats Wall Street Expectations
Remember when you found out there was no Santa, tooth fairy, or Easter Bunny? Oh, and remember when you found out that there was no safe place for your money? I remember the fantasy that if I had $100, the best thing I could do was split it up, so that some of it was in stock, some bonds, maybe the rest in something really cool like cash or gold. Well today the Dow is down, gold is down, and the dollar is down. Tomorrow they’ll all go up. Then the next day they’ll all go down. The explanations make for comical headlines, “Stocks Slide Ahead of Fed” is today’s explanation for the Dow being down a hundred points.
Did you know drug dealers prefer Euros? I mention this out of the blue because as explanations go, this one was pretty good for explaining why the Euro suddenly made a comeback. A box of €500 notes worth a million dollars weighs 4 lbs while a box of $100 bills worth a million dollars weighs 22lbs. But I hear that occupation is a bad way to go.
So it struck me as I was looking at a list of the top grossing movies of all time, 9 of the top 10 were either Sci-Fi or Fantasy. Then I looked at the top 20, and see that 19 or the top 20 are Sci-Fi or fantasy. Keep expanding the list to 50, 46 are sci-fi or fantasy. Now it’s easy to extrapolate that if we could invest in movies, or we ran a studio, it would simply be a matter of only making science fiction and fantasy films, but that would leave out the possibility of bad ones. There could be a lot of bad ones and we wouldn’t be any better off.
The research above, the list, we should assume are just the good ones. By good ones I just mean they’re the ones most people went to see. So let’s see what they have in common. Here are the top 10 all time worldwide gross¬ing movies according to Box Office Mojo (I’m leaving off the list #2 Titanic). Avatar, The Lord of the Rings (Two Tower and Return of the King), Pirates of the Caribbean (Dead Man’s Chest and At the World’s End), Alice in Wonderland, The Dark Knight, Harry Potter (Order of the Phoenix, Half Blood Prince and Sorcerer’s Stone). We didn’t even get to Star Wars but they’re next on the list.
We can see right away from our mythology that all these movies follow the classic Hero’s Journey that Joseph Campbell explained so well. And of the types of journeys, there are two kinds, the one you undertook yourself, and the one that you suddenly found yourself drafted into. Frodo didn’t ask for that ring, Harry Potter was born with a power, Alice fell down the hole and so forth. So the journey the hero didn’t ask for seems the one most people are interested in.
It’s also pretty easy to tell the good guys vs. the bad guys in these movies, and after some bit of struggle, the good guys always win and in doing so make a great contribution to the state of affairs in the world. So now what? The world runs on big business, and there it’s not so easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Or is it?
If we looked at the companies in our 401k, does it seem that some companies have some clear values and others do not? Are some making a contribution to society? Are those that have had great powers put upon them sud¬denly using their powers decently? There are many ways we can chose where we put out money, time and effort. I have learned that the rational approach—being neutral, diversified and getting the advice of experts turned out to be like believ¬ing in Santa. It didn’t work. And if we look back in time with a little honesty, it never really did work.
So I’m taking the lessons I learned from the most successful movies and putting my stock in the sci-fi approach. Because in the time it took to write this, the Dow went from being down a hundred to back up a hundred. The reason? Fed Takes Small Easing Step on Weaker Outlook.