Numlock News: January 10, 2024 • Kleenex, IMAX, Fighter Jets
By Walt Hickey
The Numlock Awards spin-off newsletter has returned!
Fueled by new screens and the surprise box office success of Oppenheimer, IMAX reported the second-largest grossing year in its history, despite the rest of the theatrical exhibition industry still struggling to rebound from the pandemic. IMAX made $1.06 billion worldwide, and ticket sales were up 24.4 percent year over year. A few standouts: $227.1 million of that was from local language box office releases across China, India and Japan, and $183.2 million of that was from Oppenheimer alone. The large-screen format has also expanded considerably, from 1,529 locations in 2019 to 1,615 locations in 2023, and exhibited more and different films, including 98 over the past 12 months. It hopes to keep that momentum going, and I, for one, cannot wait to get wrecked by a sandworm of Arrakis when Dune — Part Two drops.
So far in the 2023-24 NBA season, the leaguewide points per 100 possessions stand at 115.7, the highest on record. More significantly, the league’s annual record has been set five times in the past seven seasons, as teams have been on a tear when it comes to offense. Over the past eight years, that statistic has risen more than it had in the prior 37 years. Comparatively anemic defense is going to present new considerations in the MVP debate, as 55 percent of MVP winners historically have also been named All-Defense, while few of the top players this season are exhibiting particularly riveting defense.
The carrier race between China and India is heating up. As it stands, both nations have two aircraft carriers. China has the Liaoning, a refurbished Ukrainian carrier, and Shandong, their first homegrown carrier, each with ski jump-style ramps. India has the Russian-made INS Vikramaditya and the INS Vikrant, their homegrown carrier. India’s strategy is to park one of them in the Bay of Bengal to the east and the other in the Arabian Sea in the west, at least at times when neither is undergoing maintenance. That maneuvering is poised to be checked by China, whose new Fujian has 80,000 tonnes of displacement and can carry 60 to 70 fighter jets, and has recently showed signs of movement.
Kleenex is exiting Canada, after a run in the Great White North going back to the 1920s. The development of tissues was a result of World War I cotton shortages that pushed handkerchiefs out of style. The issue for Kleenex is that Kimberly-Clark has one manufacturing facility in Canada for the entire vast nation, and shipping from there to the entire country was getting too expensive. Kleenex currently has a 16 percent market share, while market leader Scotties has a 35 percent market share, and is potentially poised to roll up Kleenex’s business as it exits the country.
Glass bottles are the largest source of emissions for the wine industry, with a single bottle generating 1.25 kilograms of carbon dioxide. This has made alternative formats like bag-in-box wine, aluminum cans and flat plastic bottles appealing, and they can be up to 51 percent more carbon efficient than glass. The issue comes in selling wine drinkers on the new formats. A new study in the Journal of Cleaner Production sought to figure out where they can sell alternatively packaged wine most efficiently, and the answer is “just sell it to young people who do not care.”
An estimated 800 ships that have a capacity of 10 million TEUs in the aggregate, about a third of global container capacity, have been affected by the ongoing disruption in the Red Sea. It’s added another six days to the Asia to New York trip, a 17 percent increase; added another 10 days to the Asia to Rotterdam route, a 30 percent increase; and added 15 days to the Asia to Genoa route, a 57 percent increase. Roughly 95 percent of the ships that would transit the Suez Canal via the Red Sea are instead just going around Africa like the old days. The time everyone is worried about is the Chinese New Year, as there tends to be a rush ahead of the time off.
The U.S. secondhand market stood at $39 billion in 2022, and is projected to rise to $70 billion by 2027. In Europe, the market was worth €15 billion in 2022 and is projected to rise to €21 billion by 2026. That’s a lot of money, not just being spent by sellers, but being earned by sellers, and it’s enough money that tax authorities are starting to wonder when they sic the taxman on these resellers of their materials. In 2022, the United States tweaked rules so that people have to report incomes of $600 per year from reselling, a steep drop from the $20,000 limit previously. The U.K. is now doing the same thing, but setting the bar at £1,000 for their resellers.
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.