A handful of McDonald’s products have entered the realm of true seasonal promotion lore: the Shamrock Shake, the McRib and, behold ye McMighty and despair, the McDonald’s Monopoly competition. Five days ago, The Daily Beast’s Jeff Maysh published an investigation about how one ex-cop stole over $24 million in game pieces from the popular McDonald’s game. Now, after an intense bidding war, Fox has nabbed the film rights to the true-crime story, with Matt Damon set to star and Ben Affleck poised to direct.
McDonald’s launched the Monopoly competition in 1987, attaching stickers to fries, cups and magazine ads that peeled off to reveal instant-win prizes ranging from free Filet’O’Fish sandwiches to a $1 million grand prize. In 2001, a Rhode Island man claimed to win the grand prize—a 1 in 250 million victory—after supposedly finding the game piece in an issue of People magazine. Two FBI agents disguised as cameramen presented him with a mega-check and eventually cracked the case.
Later, the agents would find out that Jerry Jacobson, head of security at the subcontracting company that printed the game pieces, had been stealing grand prize game pieces for over five years. Through a network of strip-club owners, psychics, mobsters, drug traffickers and one Mormon family, Jacobson industrialized the fraud scheme by dispersing the game pieces for a cut of the winnings. Ultimately, 21 people were convicted for their involvement in the crime.
According to Deadline, Fox outbid Netflix, Warner Bros. and Universal to land the rights to the story. Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, the writing team behind Deadpool, will script the true-crime film. In addition to their other roles, Damon and Affleck will produce via their shared production company Pearl Street Films.
Read Maysh’s investigation “How an Ex-Cop Rigged McDonald’s Monopoly Game and Stole Millions” here.