15 June 2010 626 Views

Betting On Box Office Opening Weekends Approved

by Dan Koelsch

Want to make some serious money predicting box office opening weekend results? Now you can, at via stock exchange. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission approved a contract with the new Trend Exchange that allow traders to bet on a movie’s opening weekend gross. While a new revenue stream is always nice, there could be some serious downside to this.

There has been a lot of opposition to betting on future box-office receipts within the film industry, most prominently from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), as it could actually hurt box office performance. This could also have a serious affect on the viral trends of new releases. Anyone with a stake in the exchange could manipulate word of mouth and other viral marketing of films if they had enough influence. As the L.A. Times writes:

In a follow-up interview, [Bart] Chilton [a dissenting commissioner] added that he was particularly concerned about the ability of studios to manipulate the price of a future through marketing and other decisions, which he said was very different from existing futures contracts related to agriculture and other products.



I would imagine this would bring a lot more pressure for hyped films to perform well, which only seems to make matters worse for a fickle industry. I don’t have a business degree, so some of the details on this fly over my head, but this is obviously a hotly debated issue. What do you think?



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