STOCKHOLM: Bankers across Europe are filling cinema seats for a sneak peek at "The Wolf of Wall Street", booking out theatres and rolling out the red carpet for clients eager to see a film about excesses in their own high-flying industry.
The film, which opens in European theatres in the coming week, is based on the memoir of disgraced U.S. stockbroker Jordan Belfort.
He made a fortune by, and was later jailed for, defrauding clients and spending the loot on cars, homes, a yacht, hookers, orgies, alcohol and drugs.
The role is reminiscent of Michael Douglas's fictional character in the 1987 film "Wall Street", which helped spawn a generation of stockbrokers.
Douglas's character, Gordon Gekko, famously said: "The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good."
For its special screening, Nordea bank's invitation featured a picture of DiCaprio, decked out in a pin-striped suit and slicked-back hair, with Belfort's own words: "I partied like a rock star, lived like a king."
The event was so popular the bank had to purchase extra tickets and even had a waiting list for some clients.
A group of young professionals from Swedish lender Swedbank
The idea of having a showing at the Italian Stock Exchange, a first for Borsa Italiana, arose because the Leone Firm production house, which distributes the film in Italy, listed on the Italian AIM market on December 18, a spokesman said.
"It's a way to celebrate their market debut," said Andrea Monzani, spokesman for the exchange, which is controlled by the London Stock Exchange.
The Martin Scorsese-directed film had its debut in U.S. theatres on Christmas Day and was No. 4 at the North American box office for the three days starting January 3, behind "Frozen", "Paranormal Activity" and "The Hobbit".
The three-hour, R-rated film earned a Golden Globe nomination for best movie in a musical or comedy and a best actor nod for DiCaprio, generating speculation of more to come when the Oscar nominations are announced on January 16.
Critical reaction has been mixed, with some calling it a masterly depiction of American greed culture while others have found its full-on depiction of wild parties and excess stultifying.
DiCaprio, though, has mostly received raves, with trade publication Variety saying, "DiCaprio doesn't just play this part; he inhales it, along with everything else that goes up Belfort's nose and into his bloodstream."
The 39-year-old DiCaprio read Belfort's no-holds barred, unapologetic book about six years ago and knew he had to portray the cocaine-snorting, fast-talking financial bad boy on the big screen, saying the biography was a reflection of "everything that is wrong in today's society".
The excessive ways of the financial industry came under close scrutiny following the 2008/2009 global financial crisis and authorities have clamped down on banks to avoid a repeat.
Reckless lending brought several European banks and some governments to their knees during the crisis, which is still playing itself out in a number of euro zone countries- Reuters