Like a Movie's Chances? Now You Can Bet on It

First futures market for films about to begin
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2010 11:43 AM CST
Benicio Del Toro stars in "The Wolfman." With futures, Universal could have hedged its bet and recouped some of the money in the exchange that it lost at the box office.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – 3D isn’t the only immersive movie experience out there—soon, filmgoers will be able to play Hollywood mogul and bet on box office in the nation’s first film industry futures exchange. Cantor Futures, expected to gain regulatory approval next month, will allow anyone to buy contracts starting at $50, with $1 equal to $1 million in domestic box office.

In addition to betting on movies they like, participants can "short" movies and pick up the difference between expected and actual revenue—a useful hedge for studios unsure about performance. Boosters say the exchange could stabilize a notoriously rocky industry, but others worry about insider trading. That “seems like it would be a non-trivial issue,” a banker tells the Los Angeles Times. The exchange also allows studios with a sure thing to make even more money than the box office, notes the New York Times.

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