Usually when somebody tells you that you're about to watch a movie with a political or social agenda, you prepare yourself for a gut wrenching documentary or some heavy dramatic material. But what you might not expect is a horror movie about a small town gone berserk -- and that's exactly what Participant Media is counting on. In an article in the New York Times, Participant's President *(and former president of eBay) Ricky Strauss spoke about the companies plan to make the world a better place through releasing what the NYT called, " profitable cinema with a social-action impulse" -- and first up is the George A. Romero remake, The Crazies, which Participant believes provides a solid environmental message about water quality ... and how best to bludgeon your neighbors should the need arise.
Participant has released other 'politically-minded' narrative films in the past (including Good Night, and Good Luck and The Kite Runner), but The Crazies marks a new direction for Participant, because this time the politics aren't exactly front and center. According to Strauss, "...our movies also need to be entertaining, so as many people as possible are inspired by the issues and themes, and they can go out and make a difference." So even though The Crazies is Participant's first attempt to entertain and educate, it won't be their last, and up next will be another environmental tale (but this time instead of tainted water, it will be deforestation), Furry Vengeance. I guess like Ms. Poppins used to say, a spoonful of sugar really does help the medicine go down.
So while Participant might be one of the first movie studios looking to change the world as part of their business model, there have been plenty of films that have impacted the world beyond the box office, so take a look after the jump at five movies I think made the world a better place...
*Correction: Partipant's founder, Jefferey Skoll, was eBay's former head honcho.