Movie speculation ban

Film Futures Forbidden


How are movies like onions? They both have layers? They both make you cry? They both stink?

Nope. Thanks to the financial regulation bill that President Barack Obama signed in July, movies and onions are the only two commodities whose futures cannot be legally traded in the United States.

In June the Commodity Futures Trading Commission approved exchanges in movie futures, which are essentially bets on films' box office performance. The commission explained that the futures contracts, which were expected to be traded beginning in July, were "intended to allow participants in the motion picture industry to manage the financial risks associated with the production and distribution of motion pictures." But Hollywood studios, worried that the money-earning potential of their films would be hurt by speculation, demanded a statutory ban.

Bob Pisano, president of the Motion Picture Association of America, complained that movie futures serve "no public interest and, to the contrary, can significantly harm the motion picture industry and impose new, substantial costs that do not exist today." Onion farmers, who feared that betting on the value of their crop would drive prices down, used similar arguments to win passage of the 1958 ban on trading in onion futures.