betting on the box office

Film Futures Market Set for April Launch

Cantor Fitzgerald’s Richard Jaycobs.

Correctly predicting a box-office winner used to just mean you could rib your friends and boast a bit (“I told you guys Fast and Furious was gonna come out of nowhere!”), but starting next month, you could actually have something to show for your winning intuition. Cantor Futures Exchange will open an online futures market at some point toward the end of April, which will give studios, institutions, and the general population the chance to bet on the box-office revenue of Hollywood’s releases.

“I’ve worked in the futures industry for a long time,” said Richard Jaycobs, the president of Cantor Exchange. “And none of the products has the overall appeal that this does. This just has a tremendous potential audience.”

Cantor is planning to open the exchange shortly after April 20, when it is hoping to get final approval from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The hope is that distributors will play in the market as well, with conflict-of-interest issues avoided by limiting the amount a company can hedge through the exchange. Since 2001, movie buffs have been able to bet pretend money on (the Hollywood Stock Exchange), a site owned by Cantor Futures Exchange’s parent, Cantor Fitzgerald, and which boasts about 200,000 active users.

A Place to Bet Real Money on Movies [NYT]

Film Futures Market Set for April Launch