10 Movies Set in the Year 2017: Did They Predict the Future Correctly?

The Running Man

The Running Man | TriStar Pictures

This year will bring a wide variety of anticipated sci-fi films to theaters. However, what about those big-screen releases from the past that are actually set in the year 2017? Have these filmmakers’ visions ultimately proven true, or were their versions of the future simply off the mark? We thought it would be fun to find out, especially since the year 2017 turned out to be a key year in a number of high-profile films.

For this list, we’re looking solely at films where at least some part of the story takes place in 2017, regardless of whether or not it is the principal setting of the film. In addition, the releases in question obviously had to be released prior to this year to qualify, as 2017 films set in the present would defeat the purpose of this list. So, let’s get into it.

1. The Running Man (1987)

Of all the films on our list, this one comes the closest to being accurate. The film’s portrayal of obsession with reality television and fame appear to have come true, and though the bulk of the film is set in 2019, the fall of civilization actually begins in 2017. So let’s all hope that this Paul Michael Glaser film isn’t predicting how the rest of this year will go.

2. Cherry 2000 (1987)

According to this action comedy, the post-apocalyptic era is already in full swing by 2017. The film — which stars Melanie Griffith as a tracker hired to help a rich businessman (David Andrews) locate a new android lover — accurately (literally) captures our love affair with technology, but is otherwise pure escapism that has yet to truly come to fruition. However, we appear to be closer than ever to developing androids. So that’s something.

3. Fortress (1992)

Something about the year 2017 really had filmmakers convinced that the world would be plunged into darkness. In this one, a couple (played by Christopher Lambert and Loryn Locklin) are sent to prison since the impending birth of their second child breaks the one-child rule. While no such law has passed in the United States, there has recently been an uproar regarding the infringement of women’s rights. The premise of Fortress could be seen as an extension of that idea.

4. Barb Wire (1996)

Pamela Anderson stars in this adaptation of the Dark Horse Comics title as the eponymous bounty hunter. Set during the Second American Civil War, the film paints a bleak picture of American politics, and sadly, given the divisive climate in which we currently live, it isn’t too hard to see something similar coming to pass in the real world. Let’s hope that Barb Wire doesn’t lay out the road ahead.

5. Click (2006)

This Adam Sandler comedy has been roundly criticized for its mishandled balance of comedy and tragedy. Following an executive who gets his hands on a time-altering device, it jumps around through time often, ultimately stopping in 2017 to offer the character a glimpse at his happy future. Considering the real-life Sandler is (against all odds) still doing well professionally — thanks to a lucrative deal with Netflix — we’d say that Click was dead-on.

6. The Road (2009)

This adaptation of the 2006 Cormac McCarthy novel doesn’t explicitly take place in 2017, but the timeline certainly works out that way. In that case, we can only hope that the wasteland that America has transformed into in this story bears little resemblance to our own near future. It’s still a worthwhile film to check out if you haven’t seen it and a solid adaptation of McCarthy’s work.

7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)

Casual moviegoers may not realize that this series is actually set in the 1990s, meaning that the epilogue of this film — in which Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione send their own children off to Hogwart’s — takes place in 2017. As we have since seen in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, not only was the epilogue a hint of what was to come for the wizarding world but it directly led into the next major addition to the franchise.

8. Thirst (2012)

This Australian thriller is a fairly insular story centering on four people lost in the desert and desperately needing water. Nevertheless, much of its themes regarding difficult choices ahead and a lingering question of identity do reflect the complexities of modern times.

9. Oblivion (2013)

Tom Cruise leads this sci-fi thriller, which takes place in 2077 after a war has all but destroyed Earth as we know it. Though none of it directly takes place in 2017, a bit of detective work reveals that the status quo as seen in the film may have been set in motion approximately 60 years earlier.

10. Terminator Genisys (2015)

Audiences didn’t exactly leap for joy at this fifth installment in the series, but the second half of the film does largely take place in 2017. In fact, Skynet’s self-awareness was pushed back to accommodate this, only now it takes an all too familiar form. Ham-handed as it may be, the film’s changes to the established mythos make an interesting point regarding our relationship with technology.

Follow Robert Yaniz Jr. on Twitter @CrookedTable

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