The Hollywood Stock Exchange is an online fantasy game, using movies, stars, and television prediction. I hesitated to include it on this list because it recently went offline to introduce a horribly designed new interface and comment system for the game, seemingly trying to attract the facebook/myspace crowd. Longtime players (it’s been around since the late 1990s, when I started playing) announced they were quitting, and not many people were fans of the new design. I disliked the redesign, and considered cashing out until bugs were fixed and usability increased. Fortunately, they decided to go back to the original design, which was very well designed (simple and functional, which is what I like), while they “work” on further refining the second version. Now I can recommend you get into the game.
Here’s a quick tutorial:
Moviestocks are stocks for movies, where the value is an estimate of how much the film will gross in the first four weekends of major release. For example, as I type this, Quantum of Solace is valued at $164.54. That means the game players think the movie will make $164.5 million dollars in the first four weekends before cashing out. Any cash it makes after those four weekends can apply to the actors’ stock value.
Starbonds are stocks for actors, where their value is calculated as an average of the domestic gross of their last five movies, or TAG (trailing average gross). For example, let’s look at Julie Walters. As I type this, her TAG is $82.53, meaning the average domestic gross of her last five credited films is $82.5 million dollars (movie grosses for TAG values are capped at $250 million). Her fifth-oldest film, and the one that will be dropped (and replaced by Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, currently valued at $216.40), is Wah-Wah, which accounts for $0.23 of her five film gross. If the Harry Potter film grosses $216 million, her TAG will increase $43 (216/5=43, the 23 cents is negligible). In addition, her last film, Mamma Mia, cashed out at $104 million after four weekends, but it has continued to make money and currently stands at $143 million. That extra $40 million is a guaranteed TAG rise of $8 (40/5=8). If the Harry Potter film cashes out at its currently predicted value and Mamma Mia makes no more money, Julie Walters’ TAG will increase from $82 to $133 (a rise of $51). Her current value is $77.16, so if you buy the maximum 20000 shares right now, when the sixth HP film cashes out, you will have made $1.12 million (20,000×56=1,120,000).
Considering you start with $2 million in HSX money, a 50% return is pretty good (and you’ll have extra money to invest in the meantime). However, HP6 won’t cash out until August, so you may want to invest the money elsewhere to build up your portfolio and bank quicker. I’ve been playing for a long time, so I can afford to sit on stocks for the long term. If you’re going to play, you should really read around to figure out tips and tricks. Saturdays are commission-free trading times, so you might want to do all your trading that day, then waiting a week to dump them and pick up others. Look at the calendar for the movies that are cashing out on Mondays and the actors whose values are adjusting on Tuesdays, then check out their fifth-oldest film that will fall from the TAG calculation after their next film.
Play the Hollywood Stock Exchange here.
Previous time wasters:
2. Falling Sand
6. Pandemic 2