10 Times Movies Tried to Predict the Future and Failed Miserably
Night is young, though.
1. "Death Race 2000" (1975)
"Death Race 2000" is a Stallone-starring dystopian sci-fi flick that is as subtle as a sledgehammer. Set in the distant future of 2000, this film tells a tale of a dystopian America where the most popular sport is a cross-country automobile race in which the drivers score extra points for running over pedestrians.
Despite the grisly premise, it's not exactly what we'd call an accurate portrayal of the turn of the millennium. Last time we checked, the year 2000 didn't involve cross-country vehicular manslaughter as a national pastime, although it did bring us reality TV, which is arguably a less violent substitute.
2. "Rollerball" (1975)
1975 was apparently a banner year for hilariously inaccurate future predictions. "Rollerball" imagines 2018 as a dystopian future where all global conflicts are resolved through a violent sport known as Rollerball. The world is divided into corporations, and each represents a city that has a team.
The titular sport is a brutal game that combines elements of roller derby, motorcycling, and handball, where murder is an encouraged strategy. It's 2023 now, and although roller derby is alive and well, we can confirm that it has yet to evolve into the murderous spectacle "Rollerball" predicted.
3. "Soylent Green" (1973)
"Soylent Green" is set in an overpopulated, polluted New York City of 2022, where the main source of food is a green wafer known as Soylent Green. The twist, which by now has been spoiled more times than a gallon of milk left out in the sun, is that Soylent Green is made out of people. Yes, people. While the environmental message remains relevant, thankfully, we've yet to resort to horrifying cannibalistic foodstuffs. The emphasis on "yet" here.
4. "The Net" (1995)
"The Net" deserves a special mention, not because its predictions are so wildly inaccurate, but because of how quaint they now seem. Sandra Bullock plays a computer programmer who stumbles upon a conspiracy that leads to her identity being erased. The movie was hyping up the dangers of the Internet before many people even had dial-up access. However, some of its technological predictions – like ordering pizza online or identity theft – did become reality, just not in the overly dramatic fashion the movie depicts.
5. "Freejack" (1992)
"Freejack," a sci-fi film starring Emilio Estevez and Mick Jagger, is set in 2009, where the wealthy evade death by transporting people from the past, moments before their death, to serve as involuntary organ donors. Well, it's been over a decade since 2009, and while we have made many medical advancements, time-traveling organ harvesting is, thankfully, not one of them.
6. "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968)
Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece "2001: A Space Odyssey" is a cinematic marvel, but its vision of the future was more optimistic than accurate. By 2001, we were supposed to have regular commercial flights to space, moon bases, and intelligent, albeit murderous, AI. Despite the date having come and gone, our space program is still working on those moon bases, and our AI, while sometimes irritating (looking at you, autocorrect), is far from sentient.
7. "The 6th Day" (2000)
In the future according to "The 6th Day," it's illegal to clone humans, but that doesn't stop a villain from cloning Arnold Schwarzenegger. The movie was set in "the near future," and considering it was released in 2000, we should be living in a world of pet cloning shops and virtual girlfriends. As of 2023, the ethics and technology of human cloning are still highly debated and not commercially available. Also, Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't being cloned – at least, not that we're aware of.
8. "Escape from L.A." (1996)
In John Carpenter's sequel to his cult classic "Escape from New York," Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) returns, this time tasked with recovering a doomsday device from the post-apocalyptic wasteland that is 2013 Los Angeles. According to the film, L.A. became an island after a catastrophic earthquake in the year 2000. As you might have noticed, L.A. is still very much attached to the mainland, and while it's got its fair share of problems, it's not an island prison. Yet.
9. "Red Planet" (2000)
"Red Planet" is a sci-fi film set in 2056 where Earth is so overpopulated and polluted that humanity decides to terraform Mars. Now, we're not in 2056 yet, but as of 2023, our Mars missions are still in the rover and drone stage. We're certainly not running around on the red planet, trying to evade homicidal robot assistants as the film suggested.
10. "The Lawnmower Man" (1992)
This '90s flick promised a future where virtual reality could enhance intelligence and give god-like powers. While we've seen significant strides in VR technology since then, it's mostly used for immersive gaming and training simulations. It definitely doesn't grant superhuman abilities or provide cognitive enhancements, no matter how many hours you spend in VRChat.