Inventor of the Rubik’s Cube Gets a Movie
A Rubik’s Cube movie and game show are set to be in the works. Learn about the creator and the story behind his famed invention that will soon be on the screen.
The great inventor from South East Europe, Ernő Rubik is the Hungarian mastermind behind the beloved mechanical puzzle that has been sold more than 450M times around the world. He is also a sculptor and architect and was a professor of architecture at the time when he was developing his ingenious creation. Born into a family of creators on July 13, 1944, in Budapest—his mother a poet and his father a flight engineer who designed gliders—it’s no wonder that he himself is a creator.
The idea for what would become the ‘Rubik’s Cube’ came to Rubik one day in his bedroom at his mother’s apartment in 1974 when he was just 29 years old. He was an instructor of interior design and was teaching his students descriptive geometry, which entails creating two-dimensional models to manually solve and understand three-dimensional geometry problems and their changeable nature. In an effort to help his students better understand these concepts, Rubik began the process of creating something that would be a tangible and movable geometric piece that would display them.
After seeing the potential of the puzzle being more than just a tool for learning, he patented it in 1975, and it was this initial mobile cube that he constructed by hand out of wooden blocks secured by rubber bands—which took him over a month to solve!—that would lead to the craze that would soon ensue.
Rubik began selling his “Magic Cube”, originally known as “Buvos Kocka” in Hungary three years later, which soon became a popular toy in the country during the late 1970s. Wanting to expand but being economically limited in Hungary, Rubik demonstrated his “Magic Cube” at toy fairs where he then licensed his puzzle to the U.S. company, Ideal Toys in 1979. From there the puzzle launched globally in 1980 under the rebranded name, “Rubik’s Cube”, and then things really took off. Within the first three years they had already sold over 100M cubes!
The Rubik’s Cube is a definitive staple of the 1980s, everyone was thoroughly captivated by the entertaining puzzle. Many speedcubing competitions began to pop up, and the first Rubik’s Cube World Championship took place in Budapest on June 5th, 1982. The winner of this initial competition was Minh Thai (USA) who solved the puzzle in 22.95 seconds, and ever since then enthusiasts have been competing to have the quickest solve time—which is now set at 3.47 seconds by Yusheng Du.
Ernő Rubik has created other three-dimensional geometric puzzles like the Rubik’s Magic, Rubik’s Snake, Rubik’s 360 along with some others, but by far his original creation with over 43 quintillion possible solutions has remained in the spotlight.
The Rubik’s Cube is such a beloved and well-known piece that has made many appearances in shows, films, and art throughout the years further making it a historical and pop culture classic. Now, Deadline has announced that producer Ashok Amritraj’s Hyde Park Entertainment Group will team up with Endeavor Content to produce a feature film on the famed cube. Amritraj will also be the executive producer for a Rubik’s Cube-esque TV game show.
Following the spark in classic games brought by the success of the Netflix Original, The Queen’s Gambit notes Variety, the Rubik’s Cube will now take the spotlight. A fan of the cube himself, Amritraj is quoted saying, “I’ve had a personal and nostalgic connection to the Rubik’s Cube from my early days in India. I’m thrilled to partner with Endeavor Content and Rubik’s/Smiley and look forward to creating a wonderful and complex Rubik’s universe.”
There’s still no word as to what exactly the feature will entail or look like, but one thing is for certain, the Rubik’s Cube will continue to be a globally well-known puzzle and toy for generations to come.
If you’d like to know more about Ernő Rubik and his relationship with the cube and the phenomenon, you can read his full interviews in CNA Lifestyle and The New York Times, or for a more in-depth look, you can read his book “Cubed: The Puzzle of Us All” .
In order to help us meet our commitment to the 2021 Festival, we hope you will consider becoming a SEEfest Cine-Fan member to see us through as we continue to bring you the best film and culture from South East Europe.