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Real life buddies Matt Damon and Ben Affleck will be teaming up to tell a very crazy real-life story. It was recently reported that Affleck and Damon had paid $1 million for the rights to an article chronicling a decade-long scam in which the man responsible for the security of McDonald's Monopoly promotions was giving away millions of dollars to a complicated network of "winners." Affleck is set to direct with Damon starring, and for those curious about the story that will be inspiring their movie, it's a fascinating story.
Though the events that caused McDonald's public embarrassment wrapped back in 2001, the story was chronicled in deep detail by crime writer Jeff Maysh. Published in Daily Beast on July 28, the 8,700-word web feature was almost instantly the subject of a Hollywood bidding war. 20th Century Fox and Ben Affleck and Matt Damon's Pearl Street Films reportedly beat out bids from Universal, Netflix, and Warner Bros. Deadpool 2 writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick will adapt the screenplay.
It's easy to see why these major Hollywood studios were desperate to get their hands on this true-crime story. Its too-absurd-to-be-real spirit is perfect for a movie. Essentially, it follows an ex-cop named Jerome Jacobson who oversaw security on the McDonald's Monopoly sweepstakes. During his early years on the job, Jacobson was so obsessed with security that he would ask to check his employee's shoes to make sure they weren't smuggling game pieces. At some point that attitude took a turn, and in 1995 Jacobson started smuggling his own game pieces.
Jerome Jacobson would reportedly exchange prize-winning pieces for duds and then would give out those pieces to his friends and family. To keep suspicion away, he would often work through a proxy, who would be the recorded winner, but would give a chunk of the prize to Jacobson's butcher, for example. Jacobson would also receive a cut of the prize money. Eventually, the network expanded to include unsavory types, such as the mob.
From 1995 to 2001, Jacobson ran this game without the knowledge of his employer or McDonald's. The FBI didn't get wind of the scam until 2000, when an anonymous tip was brought to their attention. From there, they investigated Jacobson and his associates for a year, collecting evidence and a building a case. In 2001, they sprung their trap and arrested Jacobson and several of his largest associates. It was said that Jacobson gave away $24 million in prize winnings.
So yeah, pretty nuts story. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon's involvement is sure to give this some extra bit of attention, and I wouldn't be surprised if this was aiming to be an Oscar contender. For more updates on the project, be sure to stick with CinemaBlend and we'll be sure to keep you informed. For all of the biggest movies heading to theaters this year, check out our release schedule.