When we learned that a BlackBerry movie was in the works last year, we had no idea it would be something close to a comedy. But judging from the the trailer released today, it’s aiming to be a far lighter story than other recent films about tech, like The Social Network and Steve Jobs. The BlackBerry movie stars Jay Baruchel (How to Train Your Dragon, Goon) and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Glenn Howerton as Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, the former co-CEOs of the Canadian firm Research in Motion. They’re not exactly household names, but they both played a huge role in the history of mobile communications. Without the BlackBerry’s success, the iPhone may have never happened.
Judging from the trailer, the film will cover everything from the origins of BlackBerry as a crazy idea between a few college students (director Matt Johnson also co-stars as RIM co-founder Douglas Fregin), to its ignominious end as it failed to keep up with the iPhone and Android smartphones. It’s a classic innovator’s dilemma tale: RIM revolutionized the way we communicated by tapping into early cellular networks, but it failed to see the potential of touchscreen smartphones that didn’t need physical keyboards.
BlackBerry is based on the 2015 book Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry, which was written by Globe and Mail reporters Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff.