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Unions and guilds weigh in against betting on box office

March 31, 2010 |  3:21 pm

So does anyone in Hollywood like the idea of a futures market that would let people make bets on the box office?

Apparently not. Less than a week after the Motion Picture Assn. of America, the movie industry's Washington lobbying group, told the Commodity Futures Trading Commission that it opposed two planned markets, several other industry groups have formed an echo chamber.

Among those coming out against the proposed markets from the Cantor Exchange and Veriana Networks  are the Directors Guild of America, the Independent Film and Television Alliance, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and the National Assn. of Theater Owners. The groups sent a letter to the CFTC criticizing the idea.

The groups, along with the MPAA, also asked the commission to postpone a decision on an application by Veriana's Media Derivatives Inc. to create a designated contract market for film futures. The commission is supposed to take action on that application April 2. The groups want that decision pushed to April 16 so they can weigh in with their own opinion.

"Among other things, we will address whether any exchange infrastructure is capable of surveying the box office marketplace to detect and address potential market manipulation," the groups said in a letter to the CFTC.

If this exchange does go through, I can't wait for the first options-backdating scandal. No, really, I bet on "Hangover 2" being a flop.

-- Joe Flint