BlackBerry CEO John Chen explains focus on cybersecurity and auto business
The BlackBerry is getting another turn in the limelight after a film that explores the history of the once popular smartphone device wrapped production.
Starring Canadian actor Jay Baruchel, best known for his roles in “Goon” and “This Is the End,” and “It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s” Glenn Howerton, the movie – tentatively titled “BlackBerry” – will tell the story of the meteoric rise and catastrophic demise of the smartphone device, while also exploring the dynamic between the company’s co-founders amid emerging competitive threats from the likes of Apple and Samsung. The two actors will play former Research In Motion Inc. (RIM) co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, respectively, and the movie was mostly shot around Hamilton, Ont. and the surrounding area.
Founded in 1984, RIM found massive success after its BlackBerry devices emerged as a must-have consumer product for people who couldn’t get enough of the smartphone’s email and messaging services. The company eventually found itself as Canada’s biggest company by market capitalization, but its star was soon dulled after newer, more robust devices from Apple and Samsung were found to be more functional and popular than BlackBerry.
Amid a string of underperforming touchscreen smartphones aimed at keeping up with iPhones and Android devices, the company eventually threw in the towel in developing devices for the consumer market and now is focused on the cybersecurity software business.
XYZ Films, which co-financed the film, will be introducing the movie to potential international distributors during the Toronto Film Festival next month. Elevation Pictures will distribute the film in Canada, a statement said, although a release date wasn’t revealed.
The film is based on the national bestseller “Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry,” written by former Wall Street Journal reporter Jacquie McNish and Globe and Mail business reporter Sean Silcoff.