Airplane 2: The Sequel (1982)
What it predicted: Airport body scanners.
In real life: It’s an eminently silly film, but Airplane ’s sophomore outing proved remarkably prescient when it came to matters of airport security.
Dick Tracy (1990)
What it predicted: Smart watch.
Dick Tracy is probably a movie we’d all like to scrub from our collective consciousnesses, but to its credit it did manage to predict the advent of smart watches some 20 years in advance. While the device the yellow-suited detective employs in the film looks a little primitive by today’s standards, in 1990 it was the height of tech-couture.
What it predicted: YouTube.
More than 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. With all of that material getting pumped in, and regulation getting trickery and more complex by the day, it’s not hard to find the kind of violence and body horror that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Cronenberg’s deeply disturbing classic.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
What it predicted: Bluetooth headsets, hyposprays, Universal Translator.
Transporters and massive star yachts might still be slightly out of reach, but the first Star Trek movie featured a remarkable number of ideas that have managed to make their way into reality.
Jetsons: The Movie (1990)
What it predicted: Robot vacuum cleaners, Soylent.
We may not be commuting to work in flying cars, but the Jetsons did get a couple of things right: robot vacuum cleaners are everywhere now and Soylent has ushered in the age of popping pills to replace meals.
The Cable Guy (1996)
What it predicted: Home shopping, online gaming.
During his ‘The future is now’ rant, Jim Carrey’s cable guys yells: “Soon every American home will integrate their television, phone and computer. You'll be able to visit the Louvre on one channel, or watch female wrestling on another. You can do your shopping at home, or play Mortal Kombat with a friend from Vietnam. There's no end to the possibilities!” It’s proved to be a scarily prescient prediction about the future of home entertainment, even down to the Mortal Kombat bit.
What it predicted: Tabloid TV.
Despite the fact that it’s almost four decades old now, the Oscar-winning Network is as fresh today as it was when it was first released back in 1976, and remains one of the most watchable films on this list. It’s thanks in part to how accurate its subject matter has proven to be, especially the stuff about sensationalist television and news networks grabbing ratings by any means necessary. If there’s anything the wake of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election has taught us, it’s that there are few lows cable television news won’t stoop to to grab (and hold on to) its audience.
Super Mario Bros. (1993)
What it predicted: The fall of the World Trade Center.
This one has to go down in the conspiracy theory column, but there’s a clip from the disastrous Super Mario Bros. adaptation that freakishly foreshadows 9/11. The action occurs towards the end of the movie when the dimensions collide, forcing the twin towers to dissolve one after the other.
What it predicted: America’s economic hardships, demise of the Soviet Union, and the rise of China.
This oft-overlooked satire features a bankrupt American Government that must run a telethon to raise cash for its ailing economy. It also features hybrid vehicles, the end of the Soviet Union, China turning to capitalism and becoming a superpower, Vietnam becoming a major tourist attraction, smoking being banned and a future where The Beach Boys are still recording. All in all it’s an absurdly accurate take on the world we call home today.
The Net (1995)
What it predicted: Identity theft.
The identity theft on display in this critically panned thriller might have seemed far-fetched in the mid-nineties – let’s remember the computers we see Sandra Bullock using in the film still use floppy disks - but fast-forward to the new frontier of the Information Age and identity theft is terrifyingly commonplace.
Rufus Jones for President (1933)
What it predicted: President Obama.
This short musical comedy managed to predict the election of a black President of the United States all the way back in 1933, in the guise of charming seven-year-old rapscallion Sammy Davis Jr. That’s right, 1933, a full 75 years before Obama’s first term.