Numlock News: November 25, 2019 • Frozen, Knives Out, Sumatran Rhinos
By Walt Hickey
Frozen 2 made $127 million domestically and made $223.3 million from 37 international markets, making it the biggest-ever global debut for an animated film. That’s good for third place when it comes to domestic releases behind Incredibles 2 and Finding Dory, but makes it the highest grossing animated film of all time now in the U.K. and France. The film tells the story of a dynastic struggle as a monarch attempts to wield control of the very elements with the aid of her sister, a local monopolist and a deathless ice-golem.
Japan is the third-largest market in the world when it comes to mobile gaming revenues, and Chinese gaming companies are increasingly targeting the market. In the first half of 2016, just two of the 30 top-grossing games in Japan were from China, which as of the first half of this year doubled to four. Last year, battle royale game Knives Out — from NetEase, the second-largest game developer in China — made $465 million, more than the $455 million haul for Fortnite, and 80 percent of which was from Japan.
Researchers from the Institute for Nuclear Research at Hungary’s Academy of Sciences have released preliminary results from an experiment designed to confirm a previously-observed phenomenon that had been considered either revolutionary or erroneous. Four forces define our understanding of physics — gravity, electromagnetism, weak nuclear force, and strong nuclear force — and the Hungarian researchers’ ambition is to measure for evidence of an, as yet, unmeasured fifth such force. These new results claim that a new particle termed X17 — mass of 17 megaelectronvolts, which I’m just going to take their word on and presume that is indeed a unit of mass — has now been detected for a second time.
Work to make serious progress on increasing the use of flu shots has been stubborn, with 45 percent of U.S. adults getting a flu shot last year, up from 41 percent in 2010. A gain to be sure, but not exactly a massive shift despite a decade of outreach. Among those 65 and up, 68 percent got a flu shot, barely higher than the 67 percent immunized in 2010. The good news is seen among kids: 64 percent got a flu shot in 2011 compared to 73 percent last year.
Since May, Warner Bros. has released seven films that had a small or medium budget — The Good Liar, Motherless Brooklyn, Blinded by the Light, The Goldfinch, Shaft, The Kitchen, and Doctor Sleep — all of which absolutely tanked. They cost an estimated $173 million to make collectively and a further $140 million to market in North America. And altogether they made a total of just $72.6 million. That red ink is tough to stomach (don’t worry about the studio, they’ll manage, Joker paid the rent so to speak) if only because a very specific type of film now appears to be in peril, the middle-tier $30 million-ish gamble on an interesting idea or original property. At least this summer, audiences just weren’t buying.
The Sumatran rhino is now extinct in Malaysia following the death of the last remaining member of the species to cancer. The only male of the species in the country died six months ago. There are only about 80 Sumatran rhinos left in the world, most of whom live in Borneo and Sumatra in Indonesia. The Sumatran rhino is just one of five species of rhino, but rhinos aren’t doing so hot anywhere. About 24,500 rhinos are left in the wild, with another 1,250 in captivity.
The Housing Market
By 2037, one quarter of the entire U.S. housing stock — 21 million homes — will be vacated by seniors. This isn’t a faraway problem either: about nine million residences will hit the market between 2017 and 2027 as the baby boomer generation ages out of independent living by choice or by, well, inevitability. For perspective on what 21 million homes being injected back into the market will do, only half of that number was built in the run-up bubble to the housing crisis, and in the past decade just seven million homes hit the market. The generations that aim to buy those homes — which are often in undesirable areas for active workers — are less well-off than their parents and even smaller.
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