One of the more memorable scenes in “Forrest Gump” happens when the title character’s shrimping money is invested by his partner Lt. Dan in what Forrest describes as “some kind of fruit company.”
That fruit company, of course, was Apple Computer, which would go on to become the largest and most profitable corporation in the history of the world.
Inspired by a conversation on Quora about how an investment in Apple at the time the movie was released in 1994 would have performed, we decided to instead estimate what Forrest and Lt. Dan’s investment would be worth today.
Unfortunately, the movie is not overly specific about the size or exact timing of Lt. Dan and Forrest’s investment. There is, however, a very narrow window in which the investment could have happened.
Apple was initially founded on April 1, 1976. The scene in which Forrest receives his letter from the “fruit company” thus needs to happen after that date.
However, according to this upload of the movie’s script, a few scenes after Forrest gets that letter, he and Jenny are watching a TV broadcast of the bicentennial celebrations that took place on July 4, 1976. Therefore, Lt. Dan must have made that investment somewhere in the three month period between those two dates.
Regardless of exactly when the investment was made, Apple would not go public for another four years, and so trying to nail down a stock price or valuation of Bubba-Gump Shrimp’s investment in the computer company is very difficult.
To make our lives easier, we considered what the price return on a $US10,000 investment in Apple at the time of the company’s IPO on December 12, 1980 would have been in the long run for Forrest and friends.
It would actually take some time for the Apple investment to mature to the point where Forrest “don’t have to worry about money no more.” The stock’s price hovered at or below the IPO value for a couple years. It would double in value for a brief time by May 1983, before stagnating throughout most of the rest of the 1980s.
On the July 6, 1994 release date for “Forrest Gump”, Forrest and Lt. Dan’s hypothetical $US10,000 investment would have been worth $US18,173.
The stock didn’t really take off until Apple’s successes in the 2000s and beyond.
But if Forrest were still holding onto his Apple investment today, it would be worth over $US2,500,000.