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'The Founder' Opens Nationwide

The Founder, a movie biopic of McDonald's Ray Kroc, opens tomorrow, January 20, across the country. Michael Keaton plays the lead role with Laura Dern as Ethel Fleming, the first of Kroc's three wives, to whom he was married for nearly 40 years.

The film is considered an Academy Awards contender, although the nominations won't be announced until January 24. Judging from the trailers, Keaton is first-rate in the role of Kroc.

Director John Lee Hancock and producer Jeremy Renner were so helpful in preparation for shooting the film that they provided Michael Keaton with a great amount of video footage and interviews of the real Ray Kroc. This included making previously unpublished and even on the internet unavailable material for Keaton as a reference for and guidance to Ray Kroc's voice, patterns of speech and mannerisms. —

A top-tier film that follows the business trials and spectacular accomplishments of an American icon, as well as his dark side, the movie may well prove to be an educational as well as entertaining way to spend two hours. When Kroc died at the age of 81 on January 14, 1984, he left behind one of America's most impressive business success stories:

He started his first McDonald's in Chicago in 1955 and the chain now has 7,500 outlets in the United States and 31 other countries and territories. The total systemwide sales of its restaurants were more than $8 billion in 1983. Three-quarters of its outlets are run by franchise-holders. — January 15, 1984 Ray A. Kroc obituary by Eric Pace, The New York Times

But how close to reality is the film, really? Joan Oleck of Entrepreneur asked director John Lee Hancock that very question. His answer: "Very close."




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