Numlock News: June 19, 2023 • Flash, IMAX, Music
By Walt Hickey
Brutal weekend for newcomers at the domestic box office this weekend, with The Flash coming up short with a mere $55 million over the weekend and Pixar’s Elemental bringing in only $29.5 million, both considerably shy of expectations. The $139 million that The Flash brought in globally is looking pretty much in line with the money that Black Adam brought in over the same period, which isn’t great. Luckily, Flash has absolutely outstanding word of mouth, the only issue is that word of mouth is in another universe; in this one pretty much everyone is saying the movie sucks.
In what economists are calling “the first time inflation seriously impacted my friends,” VIZ Media is increasing the price of the bulk of its manga volumes, from the $9.99 per volume that has held for about 15 years to $11.99 for both new series and ongoing series as of January 2024. It’s basically the Costco hot dog for weebs, and while it’s below the prevailing price for most publishers — Kodansha Comics charges $12.99 a volume and Seven Seas charges $14.99 — it’s a sign that prices are about to take a hike even in areas once immune to them.
Google parent company Alphabet is selling Google Domains to Squarespace for $180 million, marking the first time that the Google company did not simply take one of its more useful and valuable products and drop it onto an island where a group of wealthy hunters set out to murder the perfectly good product for sport. This includes about 10 million domains hosted on the service, with Squarespace promising to honor Google’s renewal prices for at least 12 months before really turning the screws on the schmucks.
Imax has 401 North American screens, and in July those are poised to become hotly contested real estate. On July 12, Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One will hit screens, punctuation and all, and many of them will be on the biggest of the screens in Imax. The issue for Tom Cruise et al. is that on July 21, the following week, Oppenheimer from director Christopher Nolan will also launch, and has dibs on a whole load of those screens. Nolan shot the whole movie on Imax cameras, which gives the guy dibs, and Universal made an agreement to have Oppenheimer control the entire Imax footprint in North America for three weeks. This has ticked off the Mission: Impossible crowd to no end, leaving them to try to negotiate an Imax release and then a re-release three weeks later. This is real money at stake: While moviegoing is down 33 percent over 2019, Imax’s marketshare is up 50 percent without adding a single new screen.
Drug-resistant hookworms are originating from greyhound racing dog farms, new research suggests, pointing the finger at massive racing complexes and the breeding operations that fuel them for new drug-resistant parasites affecting pets. A 2021 study of greyhound farms found that 99 percent of samples had one of three benzimidazole-resistant mutations in hookworms, which poses a threat to the broader pet population. When those racetracks began getting shut down, the dogs got re-homed all around the country, some of whom had, er, stowaways that could cause issues in their new cities. The number of dog parks in the 100 largest U.S. cities rose 74 percent from 2009 to 2019, and two studies from 2020 and 2021 found that dogs that visited dog parks had a 70 percent higher prevalence of hookworm infections compared to the baseline.
A new study of three supermarkets in Sweden found that on weekdays, customers spent an average of $23.31 per person when music was playing in the supermarkets compared to $14.96 per person when music was not playing. Is it shocking that the civilization that gave us ABBA can perhaps be swayed by compelling beats? No, but it is statistically significant: When asked to rate their shopping experience, those who heard music rate the experience 8.8 percent higher than those who didn’t. In the spirit of this experiment, readers are encouraged to consume Numlock in the manner in which it was written, with the Top Gun: Maverick soundtrack on repeat.
A pendant found in northern Mongolia depicting male genitalia has been dated to between 42,400 and 41,900 years old, making it what researchers call the “earliest-known sexed anthropomorphic representation” known to history beating out the cave art at Grotte Chauvet in France that appears to depict female anatomy that dates to just 32,000 years ago. A subject of art immemorial, from Renaissance masters to my own all-boys Roman Catholic high school, the phallic pendant was found in 2016 and following a detailed analysis of the surface, the researchers argue that stone tools indeed were used to carve out the intricacies of the subject. Those who dispute the provenance of the prick suggest that it’s not actually intended to depict the item at hand, and that the researchers are reading a little too much into a more abstract item.
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