UPDATE: The MPAA interim CEO/president Bob Pisano weighed in this morning about the late night congressional vote to leave a ban on box office futures in the financial reform bill. Said Pisano: “We are heartened by the Conference Committee’s actions and look forward to the full House and Senate approving the legislation.” Media Derivatives’ CEO Robert Swagger singled out the lobbying efforts of Pisano as a reason he could barely get in to see representatives before they voted on the bill. Media Derivatives’ only hope now appears to be an attempt to get a waiver to operate since the Commodity Futures Trading Commission gave its approval in a split vote. Given the fervor and momentum for Wall Street reforms and consumer protections that comprise the heart of the legislation, getting a “grandfather” waiver seems unlikely. Swagger, who said Media Derivatives worked three years and spent millions of dollars, might well seek redress in the courts, and singled out Pisano as a potential target.
EARLIER: What a big Hollywood win. It looks as if all that recent MPAA lobbying of the Democratic-controlled Congress on behalf of the major movie studios has finally paid off. Because a ban on movie futures trading was just inserted into the still-not-final legislation regulating the financial sector. Right now leaders for the U.S. House and Senate are trying to reconcile their different versions of the legislation passed by each body. They’ve been at this conference process for two weeks already. The hope is to reach a compromise bill and hold a final vote before the July 4th recess. The legislation contains “sweeping changes” on everything from banks to public company shareholders to auto dealers. And the MPAA, supported by the Hollywood talent guilds and other moviemakers (but not Lionsgate), succeeded in inserting an amendment to prevent the trading of derivatives based on box office results.
The Hollywood Reporter‘s Alex Ben Block was first to report it was approved just before 1 AM ET Friday by the House-Senate conference committee. Chair Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass) said during a short discussion that while there had been controversy about movie futures, the House conferees were not going to exercise their option to alter the amendment banning movie futures trading. He said they were agreeing to the amendment as written by Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) for the Senate bill. ‘By not addressing it, we have acquiesced in that,’ said Frank. Needless to say, the various firms wanting to launch box office futures trading were pissed tonight, especially since they’d recently received regulatory approval ranging from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission to the FCC.
They’re now talking about a lawsuit.