Numlock News: December 8, 2020 • Breakdancing, Demon Slayer, Cardi B
By Walt Hickey
Warner Bros. announced last week that they plan to release their 17 film slate directly to AT&T’s streaming service HBO Max next year, which prompted the people who made those films to say, “you plan to do WHAT?” Yes, the various filmmakers and financiers got real ticked off, with Christopher Nolan openly talking smack in The Hollywood Reporter yesterday. The real thing to keep an eye on is the litigation, though, and the knives are out. Production company Legendary Entertainment produced the $160 million Godzilla vs. Kong and $175 million Dune by director Denis Villenueve, and they’re angling to negotiate a sweeter deal than the one that AT&T’s Warner Bros. cut with AT&T’s HBOMax for the domestic rights. This comes following reports from several months ago that Netflix was discussing a $250 million sale of Godzilla vs. Kong that was blocked by WarnerMedia.
The International Olympic Committee has added breakdancing to the 2024 Paris games, joining skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing as new sports to come to the Olympics in years to come. They also cut back on a number of events — boxing and weightlifting, which have each had serious problems with doping and governance, and, as a result, saw their events scaled back — bringing the total number of Paris events to 329 medal events, down 10 from the Tokyo games that were postponed to 2021. Listen, I get it may be weird for some to have breakdancing become an Olympic sport, but before criticizing its inclusion I beg you to hold dressage to the same critique and see if it holds.
The developers of the Massachusetts Vineyard Wind project have announced they will use the GE Haliade-X turbine, which has a capacity of 13 MW, 37 percent more powerful than the 9.5 MW turbine that the project could have also used and double the capacity of the 6 MW turbine off Block Island, Rhode Island and in Virginia. For context, these suckers are huge: the blades are 107 meters and can produce 312 megawatt-hours per day. For context, these turbines can cover an entire household’s daily electricity use in 7 seconds, and one single spin of the blades has been clocked producing enough power to power a U.K. household for over two days.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the number of applicants to med school is up 18 percent year over year, a record number of applicants. Stanford said that applications are up 50 percent at 11,000 applications for 90 seats, while Boston University says applications are up 27 percent to 12,024 for 110 seats. While med school admissions officials are calling this the Fauci effect, the applicants will soon learn it’s probably called the “Fauci effect” because the people with power actually don’t plan to listen to the medical experts and do what’s necessary, and will almost certainly not increase the number of people they admit accordingly, despite the fact that the U.S. will be short 54,100 to 139,000 doctors by 2033 and 35 percent of poll respondents said they have trouble finding a doctor.
Japan’s biggest franchise hit of the year is Demon Slayer, an incredibly popular manga series adapted into an incredibly popular film poised to launch lots of spinoffs at a time when the culture business needed a hit. This year alone, the manga will be responsible for 200 billion yen ($1.96 billion) worth of economic effects. Total print sales of the manga were already 40 million when the 19th volume dropped in February, but each of the four volumes published since had print runs of 20 million; with 120 million copies published, it entered a rare group of only nine manga series with over 100 million books moved. The film Demon Slayer: Mugen Train, released in October is already the second-highest grossing film in the history of Japan, with 27.5 billion yen at the Japanese box office, beating out Titanic and now eyeing the 30.8 billion yen record held by Spirited Away.
While banning smoking is incredibly difficult if not impossible, a proposal that would reduce or eliminate nicotine from tobacco products is a proposed solution to America’s tobacco addiction that advocates would like to be considered under a Biden administration. Banning cigarettes from public places has already reduced smoking levels to a third of the 45 percent smoking rate seen in the 1950s. Researchers estimate that eliminating nicotine from tobacco products would enable 5 million people to stop smoking within a year, with 33 million fewer people becoming smokers by 2100, saving 8.5 million lives.
Artist Cardi B is being sued by Kevin Brophy Jr. over the cover to Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 1, which features a tattooed man, how do I say this, doing his friend Cardi B a real solid. The issue is that while Brophy is not the man in the photograph — that’s a male model — it’s his incredibly distinctive back tattoo. The person who designed the album cover (for $50) googled “back tattoos” and pasted it on to the guy, doing some minor adjustments. Brophy’s suing for privacy invasion and defamation, while Cardi B’s reps are arguing it’s sufficiently transformative to constitute fair use. Brophy’s proposed expert witness — who said that he deserved $1,070,854 for Vol. 1 and $554,935 for Vol. 2 — was tossed out, so that would make the desired damages a second thing that appears to be going down.
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