Playing the Starbond Market: Hits and Misses from the Hollywood Stock Exchange

For over a decade, I’ve been an avid player on the Hollywood Stock Exchange

This online game lets you “invest” in movies, celebrities, and funds managed by other players. From an initial bank account of $2 million, I’ve grown my holdings to over $150 million with ground-floor investments in films like “Borat,” “The Simpsons Movie” and “The Hunger Games.” (Also, early in the site’s existence, a friend and I caused a minor run on the market by going on bulletin boards and claiming to represent a cabal that was going to drive stocks up and down at will.) Right now, I’m ranked about 13,000 out of almost 180,000 players. 91st percentile, trick!

While moviestock values are easily figured, given that each stock cashes out five weeks after the movie’s release at $1 per million the film grosses domestically — thus a $100m take after five weeks would lead to a moviestock cashing out at $100 — starbond values are a little more complex. They periodically adjust based upon market demand, as well as on a formula that reflects the success of the actor’s recent movie.

Or as HSX puts it, “The price of a StarBond reflects overall star power as determined by HSX Traders as well as how much money their films make at the box office as determined by their trailing average gross (TAG). Beginning with their second film, StarBond prices are adjusted to match the TAG when credited MovieStocks cash out. If a celebrity should happen to meet the end of his/her movie career, the StarBond is cashed out at TAG value.”

Got all that? Here’s a rundown of my recent successes — and letdowns — in the starbond marketplace.


Leighton Meester
Average paid: $9.61
Current value: $48.69
Percentage gain: +406.66%

Leighton Meester is quietly putting together an OK movie career!

Based on the bizarrely enduring popularity of ROTI’s hyperbolic Gossip Girl takedown, I was well aware that the young ladies and lady-boys of this show exerted a powerful force on the citizens of the Internet. That’s why LMEES was a good upside play with a very inexpensive bond in the single digits. But though her fame slowly grew throughout the late aughts, it was ironically the bomb Country Strong that established her bankability on the HSX market, because her bond had nowhere to go but up. It’s actually not a bad movie, either.

She followed that up with the decently successful thriller The Roommate, in which she terrorized Minka Kelly, and then played sidekick to Selena Gomez (see below) in Monte Carlo.

No doubt her beauty and notorious born-in-prison story have created quite an internet following for ol’ Meester. Her films have done OK too. Still, I think it’s time to sell high on this starlet before her next movie comes out — which also stars the next actor on our countdown. I love Meester, but I’m not convinced of her staying power as a movie star. Read more of this post

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