Money Monster is a 2016 American thriller film directed by Jodie Foster and written by Alan Di Fiore, Jim Kouf and Jamie Linden. The film stars George Clooney (who also co-produced) as Lee Gates, a TV personality who advises his audience on commerce and Wall Street, and who is forcefully interrogated by Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell), a grief-stricken bankrupt viewer who lost his money after a previous tip; the film also stars Julia Roberts, Giancarlo Esposito, Dominic West, and Caitriona Balfe.
Principal photography began on February 27, 2015 in New York City. The film was released by Sony Pictures Entertainment through TriStar Pictures on May 13, 2016, received mixed reviews from critics and has grossed over $85 million.
Cable financial guru Lee Gates (George Clooney) is in the midst of airing the latest edition of his show, “Money Monster.” Less than 24 hours earlier, IBIS Clear Capital’s stock inexplicably cratered due to a glitch in a trading algorithm, costing investors $800 million. Lee planned to have IBIS CEO Walt Camby (Dominic West) appear for a softball interview about the crash, but Camby unexpectedly left for a business trip in Geneva.
Midway through the show, a deliveryman ambles onto the set, pulls a gun and takes Gates hostage, forcing him to put on a vest laden with explosives. The “deliveryman” is laborer Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell), who invested $60,000—his entire life savings, inherited from his deceased mother—in IBIS after Lee endorsed the company a month earlier on the show. Kyle was wiped out along with the other investors, and now wants answers. Unless he gets them, he will blow up Lee before killing himself. Once police are notified, they discover that the receiver to the bomb’s vest is located over Lee’s kidney. The only way to destroy the receiver—and with it, Kyle’s leverage—is to shoot Lee and hope he survives.
With the help of longtime director Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts), Lee tries to calm Kyle down and get him some answers. However, Camby is nowhere to be found, and Kyle is not satisfied when both Lee and IBIS chief communications officer Diane Lester (Caitriona Balfe) offer to compensate him for his financial loss. He also is not satisfied by Diane’s insistence that the algorithm is to blame. Diane is not satisfied by her own explanation either, and decides to contact the programmer who created the algorithm for answers, reaching a man in Seoul. The programmer insists that an algorithm could not take such a large, lopsided position unless a human meddled with it.