Mark Wahlberg Didn't Think The McMillions Story Was Real Until He Produced HBO Docuseries

Mark Wahlberg in Spenser Confidential

McMillions, the 6-part documentary about the McDonald’s Monopoly Game scam that eventually tied to $24 million in fraud, is finally hitting HBO. The documentary itself actually came together after producer Mark Wahlberg caught on to the interesting story, and he said in a recent interview that he didn’t realize the cam “was real” until he started looking into it more.

In fact, as McMillions will uncover, a tip to the FBI kicked off the investigation, which eventually found the Monopoly Game at McDonald’s had a slew of winners, winners who were almost all handed the keys to the pieces necessary to give them big wins. Mark Wahlberg said in an interview that the story was fascinating and that McMillions went out of its way to find even more puzzle pieces connecting the dots in the case. He said:

It's a fascinating story. I didn’t think that it was real — I thought that they really took some creative liberties. But it’s actually all true. The more we kinda looked at it, the more they uncovered.

If you don’t know a ton about this McDonald’s Monopoly Game scandal, it was newsworthy around the turn of the century, when the FBI began looking into and arresting people related to the crime. Still, taking pieces from a fast food chain’s fun game and manipulating the game to accrue winnings is simply a wild idea.

The fact that it really built an empire involving a whole slew of people and “fake” winners is something Mark Wahlberg referred to in a previous interview with Fox News as “farfetched and unreal.” Or as Mark Wahlberg put it in the recent interview with Extra:

A guy was able to steal some of the winning pieces and he decided he was going to give them to the people he wanted to give them to, but then he would also basically make them pay for the winning piece, not knowing that they then had to pay tax, and then when they got a payoff, he would take more of the money.

That’s the gist of what McMillions (really it’s stylized McMillion$) is about. But it’s a lot more nefarious than a guy pocketing some change. As you can see in the trailer, an ex police officer is involved. The mob is involved. The FBI is involved. And as early footage from the documentary also notes “the vast majority of these ‘winners’ they’re good people.” You can see more about the wild story below.

HBO has been a big producer of documentaries for years. We’ll have to wait and see if McMillions of people tune in for this one, but I don’t think Mark Wahlberg is wrong when he calls the scheme and its evasion of the law “fascinating.” Now, HBO just needs to make a docuseries about the Rick and Morty szechuan sauce debacle and we'll be set.

McMillions premieres on Monday, February 3 at 10 p.m. ET, only on HBO. To see what else the subscription streamer has coming up, take a look at our full schedule. Mark Wahlberg can next be seen in Peter Berg’s new movie, Spenser Confidential, which is headed to Netflix in March.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.