by Jazmine Ponce
Arts & Entertainment Editor
A young man sits at his computer, logging on to his favorite website and in horror shouts, “I can’t believe that Tom Cruise went down 72 points, he lost me $13,000!”
Some may be confused and ask “what?” Huh? The answer is an innovative hip website, called the Hollywood Stock Exchange, where the glitz and glamour of Hollywood meets the buy-and-sell rush of Wall Street.
The Hollywood Stock Exchange is located at www.hsx.com. It is a free website where fans of movies and music can use virtual money to buy and sell bonds in their favorite stars and stock in upcoming movies.
For movie and music artists whether their new album is creating buzz, or their recent movie earned big money in the weekend box office determines the standing power of Hollywood stars.
The Hollywood Stock Exchange is a website that does just that, rates the money values of celebrities. When a visitor first becomes a member of the exchange they acquire 2 million “Hollywood dollars” each for the movie market and the music market.
In the “Movie Market” members then can use that money to either by “StarBonds” or “MovieStocks.” “StarBonds” represent movie stars or directors such as Julia Roberts, Russell Crowe or Tim Burton. The prices reflect the actor and director’s “star” power that is determined by how much money their films have brought in at the box office and by the “HSX” traders.
“MovieStock” represents movies that are either already in theaters, just finished production or are in the early stages of development. The prices are estimated guesses of what the traders think the movie will make at the box office in its first four weeks.
The website was started by former investment broker and aspiring screenwriter Max Keiser along with Michael Burns, managing director and head of the Prudential Securities Los Angeles investment banking office.
According to the HSX press kit, Keiser, while on an artistic excursion in Paris, developed the idea of turning individual movies and film stars into tradable securities.
According to a HSX survey compiled in March there are a total of 450,000 traders, 65 percent of them are between the ages of 18 and 34. Also according to the survey the HSX traders are “frequent moviegoers, affluent computer users and innovative trendsetters who use the World Wide Web to get information about entertainment music and finance.”
With a click of the mouse, members can see their music or movie portfolio listing the current stocks and bonds they have purchased. They can view the current gains a particular artist or movie has made which equals more virtual “Hollywood dollars” or their losses which may result in certain artists with drizzling prices to be sold quickly before too much money is lost.
There is also an awards page where as soon as traders begin to make a big profit they can “cash in” on prizes ranging from Hollywood Stock Exchange goods, to movie deals with www.reel.com.
One does not have to be a supreme movie or music buff to be a member. Along with trading and selling, HSX also houses articles full of information on current actors, movies and music artists.
Its community bulletin boards and chat rooms also offer the latest buzz from Hollywood insiders, tips on the hottest selling bonds and stocks and detailed biographies on certain artists so non-entertainment savvy visitors will not feel lost.
For anyone who knows whether “Mission Impossible 2” is going to break box office records; if Christian Bale is the next big actor; or if Britney Spears’ new album is going to climb the charts as fast as her last album did, one suggestion is to log on to the Hollywood Stock Exchange. Those virtual “Hollywood dollars” are waiting for new traders.