Numlock News: February 2, 2022 • Marinas, Lightning Bolt, Prairie Dog Pete
By Walt Hickey
The Broadway League had kept the latest show-by-show box office data private, a break from established practice, arguing that the year-to-year comparisons weren’t fair, but the data shared with its membership leaked to the public and now we know just how rough conditions have been for shows. The data runs from mid-September, when most shows re-opened, through mid-December, when many shows closed because of positive coronavirus tests. In the final week of data available, only a third of the shows running grossed over $1 million, which is the generally-accepted sign of strong box office. New shows struggled — the new Diana musical played to 51 percent capacity and grossed $374,000 in the week ending December 12 — while some established shows emerged stronger: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which was slashed from a two-part play to a traditional one-part show, was pulling $1.7 million a week in December, way better than the same weeks of 2019. Right now, there are 19 shows in 41 theaters, the lowest in years, though 14 openings are scheduled for April and daily ticket sales are picking back up.
The Battle of Lake Changjin 2 made $100 million at the box office as of the middle of Tuesday evening in China, the first day of the weeklong Lunar New Year holiday. The film’s the sequel to The Battle of Lake Changjin, which opened on October 1 and made $913 million, currently the highest-grossing film in China’s history. That movie crushed it domestically, but it travelled terribly, and while the sequel is projected to make $938 million in total ticket sales the odds it has legs overseas is somewhat limited by its patriotic subject matter. The Battle of Lake Changjin 2 tells the story of Chinese soldiers during a Korean War battle who attempt to take out the Water Gate Bridge and cut off the retreat of American forces. Doubt that plays in Peoria.
The World Meteorological Organization announced that a single lightning bolt in April 2020 extended 477.2 miles from Texas to Mississippi, making it the record-holder for longest known lightning flash. It beats a previous record set in 2018 in Brazil of a 440.6-mile bolt. The WMO further announced that a lightning flash over Uruguay and Argentina in 2020 lasted 17.1 seconds, which beats out the previous record of 16.7 seconds. The WMO said that the records are not linked to climate change but rather better satellite tracking technology. That said, Numlock is always delighted to offer alternative views and teach the controversy; other theories suggest the bolts are simply related to increased Jotunn activity into Midgard, the ongoing machinations of Malekith the Accursed and the legions of Svartálfar, and the requisite Asgardian reaction from the Odinson, or the long-warned of return of Jörmungand and imminent onset of Ragnarok itself.
It’s The End Of The World As We Know It And I Feel Fine
While the percentage of Americans who are satisfied with the direction of the United States is only around 17 percent — up from 11 percent in the pits of the pandemic but still down from 41 percent two years ago — respondents are telling pollsters that nevertheless they’re personally doing just great. Fully 85 percent of respondents said they are satisfied with how things are going in their personal life, a little bit off the all-time highs of 90 percent but still definitely on the higher side of the historical range in responses to the question, which has been asked since 1979. While 51 percent of Americans are “very dissatisfied” with the direction of the country, 51 percent are also “very satisfied” with their own personal life.
Today is Groundhog Day, a unique holiday when city officials cosplay as Gilded-Age fops and look to local rodents for meteorological forecasts. Turns out they’re not particularly good at it: Punxsutawney Phil’s record from 1994 to 2021 had him correctly predict the weather just 39.3 percent of the time in the Northeast region he calls home, and just 36 percent of the time when judged against national temperatures. It is unclear if his groundhog brethren Staten Island Chuck in New York will thrive now that his primary predator, the towering, carnivorous Bill de Blasio, has been removed from the ecosystem. Other climatological forecasting animals — Buckeye Chuck, Snohomish Slew, Stormy Marmot — are also mediocre at best, which especially sucks because I hear Prairie Dog Pete spends weeks poring over the latest GOES data and the Euro model runs to try to prepare for his forecast.
In 2020, sales of boats and marine products hit $49.3 billion, up 14 percent compared to 2019, as pandemic-induced crises pushed people just on the edge of that mid-life crisis to take the leap into the nautical life and buy the boat of their dreams. Powerboat sales in 2021 are expected to once again surpass 300,000 for the second consecutive year, and that’s got lots of companies eyeing the life aquatic. One example is the second-largest owner of U.S. marinas, Suntex Marinas, acquiring the third-largest owner of U.S. marinas, Westrec Marinas, for $400 million, which would make a $2.5 billion company behind only Safe Harbor Marinas in size. There are an estimated 11,000 marinas in the United States, but most are small, individually-owned companies, and the big guys in the space think it’s ripe for consolidation.
A new study estimated that there are 73,300 species of trees on Earth, of which they predict 9,200 are yet to be discovered. This was accomplished by analyzing a database of tens of millions of trees from 100,000 forest plots the world over, and then extrapolating to correct for the gaps in the data. About 43 percent of the heretofore undescribed species are estimated to be in South America, while 22 percent are in Eurasia.
Thanks to the paid subscribers to Numlock News who make this possible. Subscribers guarantee this stays ad-free, and get a special Sunday edition. Consider becoming a full subscriber today.
The best way to reach new readers is word of mouth. If you click THIS LINK in your inbox, it’ll create an easy-to-send pre-written email you can just fire off to some friends.