Those who boldly predicted box office glory for The Karate Kid perhaps cracked a grin at this weekend’s returns, maybe they sent a “told you so!” text… well, in the future, these successful prognosticators could get to celebrate in a sea of dollar bills. Despite the best efforts of the film industry, federal regulators approved a plan from Media Derivatives Inc. to launch a box-office futures market, which will likely debut this year.
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission approved the Trend Exchange request to offer futures contracts in its exchange that are aimed at “large and institutional investors”; movies will be available for trading four weeks before they open until they arrive in theaters. (This is separate from the Cantor Fitzgerald application to offer futures contracts to smaller investors, which will continue to trade until four weeks after a movie opens.) The news will come as a blow to the MPAA, which has argued the contracts will be “easily manipulated” and could hurt the performances of certain films.