Cantor to launch futures exchange for film buffs

NEW YORK Tue Feb 23, 2010 2:24am IST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Traders will soon be able to place possibly the surest bet around: the next James Cameron film.

Cantor Fitzgerald said on Monday it expects to launch an electronic futures exchange next month that would allow investors to bet on box office returns for movies.

The closely held broker dealer expects the new asset class, films, to attract anyone from a producer or studio shoring up financing, to a hedge fund, to an individual film buff putting his money where his mouth is.

"People love movies, and this is a way for them to profit from what they know," said Melanie Gordon-Felsman, a Cantor spokeswoman. "Let's say you love 'Avatar,' and you loved 'Titanic,' and (director) James Cameron's coming out with his next movie -- so you want to get in the game."

The contracts are valued at one-millionth of a share of the film's expected box office in the first four weeks playing, Gordon-Felsman said. If the film earns more than it was calculated to earn, you're in the money; if not, you're out -- unless of course you shorted the contract.

Investors would own and trade contracts based on Domestic Box Office Receipts up to six months before the underlying film is released.

New York-based Cantor expects to launch the so-called Cantor Exchange in about a month, which would be a couple of weeks after the glitzy Oscar film awards in Los Angeles on March 7. The company expects approval from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission by about April 20, the spokeswoman said.

A Cantor unit also owns the Hollywood Stock Exchange, a virtual entertainment stock market.

(Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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