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At this time of year, nobody really wants to do any work. So, it is movie time. Movies and real estate themes are intertwined in many ways.

For example:

  • It’s a Wonderful Life (a story about a friendly banker who makes housing affordable for everybody in his community)
  • Avatar and Chinatown (about land use conflicts and the impact of regulations on local residents by government and quasi-government forces)
  • The Hitchhikers Guide to Galaxy (about the consequences of a mismanaged government- business relationship, but the books are far better).

Given the amount of money floating around many real estate deals, it is not surprising that incentives (for good or ill) create tension:

  • The Big Short (about you know what, recently)
  • Bugsy (about one of the cities whose prices crashed big time during the Crash, but this story is long ago when it was nothing but sand)
  • Field of Dreams (about the riskiness of an “on spec” business plan using the theory of “build it and they will come”)
  • Local Hero (about international negotiations for land rights)
  • The Goonies (about foreclosure and redevelopment)
  • Superman (about what to consider when you can make new beachfront land) and Superman Returns
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit (about big business vs. public transit and the importance of having clear title to land)
  • Up (about unusual tactics that can be used if you really do not want to sell to a developer).

Owning a home can be a source of tension for a many reasons and all stories thrive on tension:

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Lots of films include real estate agents in key roles. Popular ones include

  • American Beauty
  • Glengarry Glen Ross
  • Dracula (this movie is actually an object lesson in the importance of “know your client” since, in the original black and white movie, it is a story of an agent from London who needs to finalize a deal in the days before LinkedIn, Facebook, Skype and Google.)

(We do not want to emphasize these movies since too many people think that jobs in the “real estate industry” are limited to being a real estate agent or broker.)

Hotels are a popular setting, since they enable so many opportunities:

But, then again, they can be scary places, if you look at the The Shining, Psycho or Hotel Rwanda.

It might be easier to attract high school students into the real estate industry if they could look behind the scenes. (Reportedly, criminology courses are full of people who think that their future career will be as seen on CSI.) If somebody is doing their job well then “behind the scenes” at a real estate company would probably not make a good movie.  Security would be the exception and a number of movies fit:

Although the absence of guns makes their job less exciting, janitorial staff are critical to the smooth operations of any property. I could only find one that is worthy:

Actually, all movies are about real estate, since the real estate industry is wherever people live, work, shop or play. Some cities are iconic:

  • New York
  • Los Angeles
  • Hong Kong (this list emphasizes a historical perspective on Hong Kong since Suzie Wong and Bruce Lee are definitely part of the city’s past. Still, the Chungking Mansion, which plays a part in Chungking Express, is a significant building that everybody who has been to Hong Kong should recognize.)

Some movies generate tourist traffic to the location.


(Thank you to [1] [2] [3] for extra advice.)