The Morning Fix: Box-office trading gets closer to reality. Michigan says no to cannibalism. Rupert Murdoch goes after BSkyB
After the coffee. Before buying a vuvuzela to annoy my neighbors.
Box-office betting. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission voted to approve a vehicle that will clear the way for professional traders to bet on movie ticket sales. The movie industry's D.C. lobbying arm, the Motion Picture Assn. of America, has fought hard to stop this in its tracks, fearing that trading on box office could be manipulated and hurt the industry. Veriana, the company that got the approval, now has to stop legislation that would ban box-office futures trading. Veriana Chief Executive Rob Swagger blasted the MPAA and the legislation and promised to start lobbying Capitol Hill this week. The first movie traders could bet on is Sony's "Takers." That one stars Matt Dillon, and as much as I like him, it's been a while since he had the lead in a hit. His co-star, Zoe Saldana, is the flavor of the month right now, so maybe that will give the movie a little lift, but it still sounds risky to me. More on the decision and reaction from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.
Rupert wants control of BSkyB. Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. has made a bid to buy a controlling stake in British Sky Broadcasting, a satellite pay TV service. News Corp. already owns 39% of BSkyB and has offered $11.5 billion for the rest. BSkyB officials are willing to talk to Murdoch about a deal, but they want a higher price. More from Bloomberg and the Telegraph.
State-sanctioned piracy? North Korea's Central Broadcasting service showed the South Africa-Mexico World Cup match, but it didn't have the rights to do so. The Wall Street Journal says South Korea is looking into whether its coverage of the match was ripped off by the North Korean station. If it was, will North Korea be fined or will South Korea just arm every citizen with a vuvuzela and have them blow north?
Fresh ideas needed. With many of the summer's big-ticket movies flaming out, Vulture reports that Hollywood wants (gasp) original ideas for scripts instead of more remakes and sequels. Not to be too cynical, but I'm willing to bet that for every example of a recent script deal for an original concept that this story mentions, I can go find one based on an old TV show or movie.
Well, you have to draw a line somewhere. Michigan denied a tax break to filmmaker Andrew van den Houten, who wanted to shoot "The Women," a horror movie with a cannibalism theme in the state. It would have been his second movie featuring cannibalism to be shot in Michigan. Now though, some states are starting to take a closer look at the movies applying for tax breaks instead of just rubber-stamping a yes to every application. The New York Times sinks its teeth into this one.
Read the fine print. The Daily Beast looks at a bunch of reality shows and shockingly discovers that sometimes the cash and prizes promised winners don't always materialize quite the way participants might have hoped.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Lots of E3 News, including ESPN doing a deal with Microsoft's Xbox and Richard Branson getting back in the game. Also, the romance between Hollywood and video game makers is starting to cool.
-- Joe Flint
Betting on box office is risky. Following me on Twitter is safe. Twitter.com/JBFlint