Playing the Hollywood Stock Exchange

Many of us might be too timid to invest in real stocks during these volatile times when the market feels like a stomach-churning rollercoaster ride, so I've been spending my leisure time and imaginary fortune buying movie stocks and star bonds on the addictive Hollywood Stock Exchange at HSX.com. 

When you sign up (it's free), you receive 2,000,000 "Hollywood Dollars" to get started.  Too bad the real world doesn't just hand you two million bucks and ask you to start investing!  I've been playing the Hollywood Stock Exchange for years and my portfolio is now valued at over H$298,000,000, placing me in the top 95th percentile. 

You make (or lose) virtual money by investing in movies, predicting which will be hits at the actual box office.  If you're a film buff like me, you'll get a kick out of guessing which productions will make it and which won't.  I've hit the jackpot with sleeper blockbusters like Blair Witch Project and I've been burned with disappointments such as Green Lantern.  You can also earn "Hollywood Dollars" by playing daily games -- "Classic Cash," "Learn and Earn," and "Movie Mogul."

Like the real market, it can be a crapshoot.  As informed as I think I am when it comes to entertainment news, I still get surprised.  Ron Howard's adaptation of Stephen King's The Dark Tower seemed like a no-brainer, until Universal Pictures got cold feet and pulled out.  Similarly, I had heard interesting buzz on the reboot of The Lone Ranger starring Johnny Depp as Tonto only to have the rug pulled out from under me when Disney cancelled the project because of the skyrocketing proposed budget. 

Yet, like the real market, patience is rewarded, and due diligence (doing a little research on the stocks you're considering) is the way to stay out of the red.  Gut instinct, however, is still the key ingredient.  (Not to mention a big dollop of luck every now and again.) Some Movie Stocks will take a tumble and never recover, others will explode into the stratosphere, but most will fluctuate up or down, and if you diversify enough you should see a nice return during the long haul.  When you become a veteran with a lot of cash at your disposal, you can afford to take more chances, investing in those big risk items that yield big rewards.

HSX is a fun diversion, and remember, it's free, so you have nothing to lose (except sleep when you're playing it late at night whenever you get the chance).  If you crash and lose everything, you can always start over.  (Again, if only reality worked that way!)  Happy trading!

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