Every Future Prediction From ‘The Running Man’ (And Whether The Movie Was Right Or Wrong)
Released in 1987 — and based on a novel written five years earlier by Stephen King — The Running Man anticipated a bleak, dystopian future where the planet lies in ruin, the government is in chaos, and the populace is too distracted by reality television to notice or care.
That bleak, dystopian future? The far-flung year of ... 2019. As the original poster for The Running Man proudly declares, “It is the year 2019. The Running Man is a deadly game no one has ever survived. But ... Schwarzenegger has yet to play.”
Schwarzenegger plays Ben Richards, an innocent man framed for the murder of dozens of innocent people through the use of carefully edited documentary footage that makes it look liked he rejected his orders and opened fire on a crowd of protestors. Later, his oppressors will manipulate existing video to digitally insert his face onto another person’s body, and make it look like he’s been killed. In other words, The Running Man predicted fake news and deepfakes more than 30 years ago.
But this movie, which also features Arnold Schwarzenegger delivering the most non-cold-related one-liners in his entire career, is mostly known as a dopey, violent action flick. How could a “dumb action movie” get that stuff right? And what else did it get right? To get a more accurate picture of The Running Man’s intelligence — and with another Stephen King adaptation headed to theaters this week — I decided to revisit the film (directed by Paul Michael Glazer) and evaluate the accuracy of every single prediction it made about the world of 2019. All in all, I counted 22 different predictions...