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Wall Street Eyes the Movie Biz

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Did you know that Avatar would make $740 million at the box office or that Greenberg would stall at $3 million? Soon, a pair of Hollywood futures markets could allow you to bet real money on your multiplex savvy.

What are they? The first is the Cantor Exchange, which would be open to the public; the second is the Trend Exchange, limited to institutional investors. How does it work? With Cantor, you’d purchase a ”contract” online before a film opens predicting how it will perform in its first four weeks at the price of $1 for every $1 million. So, let’s say Date Night is expected to bring in $70 million, you’d buy a contract for $70. If it makes $100 million after four weeks, you’ll pocket $30; if it makes $40 million, you’ll lose $30. What’s the catch? The MPAA hates the idea, claiming that it’s rife with potential for manipulation and would hurt the movie biz. ”Basically, it’s nothing more than a platform for gambling,” says MPAA spokesman Howard Gantman. What’s next? Both exchanges go before a federal agency for review this month. If they get the green light, you could be wagering by the time The A-Team hits theaters in June.

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