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Friday, April 09, 2004

In his post today, Iggy mentions the movie Shade. I had learned of this movie several weeks ago though HSX. (HSX is the Hollywood Stock Exchange, basically a big online fake stock market in which you "invest" with play money in movies that are coming out. The values of your "movie stocks" rise and fall according to how well the movie does at the box office. The whole thing is actually a marketing tool: The owners of HSX sell the data on which movie stocks are being bought and sold as a kind of gauge on the buzz surrounding each movie. It's free, and I find it amusing to bet (with fake money) on which movies will do well and which will tank each weekend.)

Shade stars Gabriel Byrne, Thandie Newton, Sylvester Stallone, Melanie Griffith, Stuart Townsend, and Jamie Foxx. Sly plays "The Dean," a big-time Texas Hold'Em player and a gangster, and the plot revolves around some kind of con (presumably cheating at poker) that the other characters pull over on The Dean. The buzz on HSX was (and still is) that this movie is bad, or at least not geared toward a mainstream audience, since it had a lot of trouble finding a distributor and almost went straight to video. When it finally did find a distributor, its release date was changed several times, which is usually a bad sign.

My pet theory on why the movie didn't go straight to video is that some studio exec has noticed the buzz surrounding poker right now. The movie's release date is now May 7--I wonder if they were hoping to release it in conjunction with the WSOP, and all the uncertainty with Binion's closing down screwed that up. But that's just pure speculation on my part. Iggy speculates that Shade might cause poker to "jump the shark." I hadn't considered that, but he could be right. Like I said, the movie is apparently not blockbuster material. But I do have 50,000 shares of Shade on HSX--kind of a fun bet on whether poker's popularity can carry a movie.

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