40 Congressmen: Keep Ban of Movie Futures Trading

Bipartisan group wants ban kept in reconciled financial reform package

Forty Congressmen are calling on leaders of the House Agriculture Committee to keep a ban on movie box office futures trading in the final version of the financial reform measure to emerge from Congress.

In a letter sent Wednesday to House Agriculture Committee chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and to Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., the ranking Republican on the committee, the bipartisan group suggested “the opportunities for abuse and manipulation” of box office futures numbers are enormous.

Peterson and Lucas have been appointed by House leaders to resolve differences in the legislation.

The congressmen also said they are unaware of any entities seeking to use the futures to hedge the risks of moviemaking — though the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has heard testimony and received letters from several movie investment officials saying they would use the futures trading vehicles to hedge risks.

We “believe that the intended functions of these new exchanges are for purposes other than those for which legitimate futures markets exist,” the letter said.

The letter comes as the Senate and House begin to reconcile different versions of far-reaching financial reform legislation. The version the Senate passed last month bars the CFTC from approving new applications to trade movie box office futures, instigated by the agriculture committee.

The House version, approved last December, has no similar language.