We've Got Hollywood Covered

Lionsgate’s Burns to Testify in Favor of Movie Futures Trading

One of the few people in the industry not to oppose the trading of box office futures

Lionsgate Entertainment Vice Chairman Michael Burns is heading to Washington to personally tout the benefits of movie box office futures Wednesday to the Commodities Future Trading Commission.

Burns, one of the few people in the industry not to oppose futures trading, will be among witnesses at its hearing tomorrow examining the potential trading, the commission has announced.

Others witnesses include:

The top execs of the two companies seeking to trade the futures — Media Derivatives and Cantor Fitzgerald

Robert Pisano, president and interim CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America

Scott Harbinson, international representative of the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees, who is also representing the Directors Guild of America.

The commission will also hear from several experts in movie financing: Clark Hallren of Clear Scope Partners, Alice Neuhauser, of Complete Rights Management and UCLA professor and lawyer Schuyler Moore

Neuhauser, who has put together movie investment packages, is an adviser to Trend Exchange, a start-up financial marketplace for trading various media-related options contract and is to become one of the firm’s officers if the CFTC approves the futures trading.

Moore, who teaches movie financing and also advises on it, had testified earlier about the financing to a House committee.

The hearing comes at a time when the movie industry appears to be near a big victory in its fight to fend off the futures trading.

The Senate could vote later this week on financial reform legislation that includes a provision that would block the CFTC from approving the movie futures contracts. The Senate bill still has to be combined with a House financial reform package and signed for by President Obama for it to take effect.

Meanwhile, under existing law the CFTC is proceeding on acting on both Media Derivatives and Cantor’s request to trade box office futures contracts.

The commission has already approved the creation of exchanges and clearing mechanisms but hasn’t yet acted on approving contracts, which were submitted in March.

It has until June 8 to make a decision on Media Derivatives’ request and until June 28 to act on Cantor’s request.