This is the futures exchange that would allow investors to bet on the box office performance of films. Two companies had applied to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to establish these markets, and until a few weeks ago it seemed as if the proposal would be approved. But late this afternoon the CFTC said it would be delaying its decision until April 16. The delay comes after considerable pushback from the Motion Picture Association of America, the Directors Guild, the Independent Film and Television Alliance, and other industry groups. Also, California's two senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, have expressed concerns. NYT story lays out what everyone is worried about:
The risk of market manipulation in the rumor-fueled film world, conflicts of interest among studio employees and myriad contractors who might bet with or against their own films, the possibility that box-office performance would be hurt by short-sellers, difficulty in getting or holding screens for films if trading activity indicated weakness and the need for costly internal monitoring to block insider trades. Among the potential abuses, the studios contend, is that a speculator might leak an early version of a film to the Internet and then profit from its subsequent poor performance at the box office.