Netflix released a series Wednesday called Eat the Rich: The GameStop Saga about the online movement that drove up the stock price of the video game retailer and spooked Wall Street forever.
Here’s what to know about the new series.
What happened in the GameStop saga?
According to the BBC, the retailer had been floundering during the pandemic, and its December 31, 2020 share price — before all of the controversy — was $4.71 a share.
Hedge funds and other investors can sometimes bet against a company when it’s doing poorly in order to make money, and that is exactly what they were doing with GameStop.
Amateur traders active on Reddit noticed that Wall Street was short-selling the stock, and they decided to flip the script. The millions of active users in the r/wallstreetbets channel were encouraged to buy shares to drive the price of the stock up in order to increase personal profit and “squeeze the short positions of hedge funds,” according to The Trade.
Due to an online frenzy, massive coordination, influencers, and even Elon Musk tweeting “Gamestonk!”, retail traders bought up tons of GameStop stock, which drove up the price.
This meant that the people who bet on the stock going down — primarily larger, more traditional investors — lost a ton of money. Guy Warren, chief executive officer of FinTech ITRS Group, told The Trade that what happened “[exposed] the vulnerability of the market as well as the weaknesses in firms’ trading systems.”
“Until now, retail trading activity has never been able to move the market one way or another…the power dynamic has shifted,” he added.
Robinhood limited trading on the stock on January 28, 2021, when GameStop’s price was about $80 a share. That’s a 1,598.51% increase from just a month before.
The whole saga cost hedge funds about $20 billion, according to the Sun-Times.
Since then, there have been other potential meme stock moments, including AMTD Digital, Bed Bath & Beyond, and AMC.
What is Netflix’s new GameStop documentary?
Netflix unpacks the situation in three episodes, each about 40 minutes, and includes original interviews with Redditors and traders. Jim Cramer, the host of “Mad Money” at CNBC, whose snarky comments about the saga earned him a host of brutal meme-ery, is also featured.
“I don’t even understand what I did!” he says in the first episode. “What is their mission? What are they determined to do? Change the face of capitalism?”
So far, reviews have been mixed.
The Chicago Sun-Times wrote that it has “a straightforward and clear and entertainingly breezy approach that follows the bouncing stock prices in one of the most bizarre financial stories of our time.”
The Verge ripped both Netflix’s documentary and an MSNBC film on the meme stock saga from May called Diamond Hands: The Legend of Wall Street Bets in an online review, saying they relied too much on stock footage and felt “rushed.”
There also will be a movie about the saga with Pete Davidson, slated to start filming this month, according to Variety.