Numlock News: August 20, 2018

By Walt Hickey

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Frosted Mini Wheats

Groundbreaking new research into the frosted wheat cereal market found that Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats — the brand that in many ways defines the entire segment — is distressingly under-frosted compared to its generic rivals. The frosted side of Frosted Mini-Wheat is estimated to be on average 48 percent frosted based on an analysis of samples. Generic alternative Great Value Frosted Shredded Wheat is, in comparison, 71 percent frosted, and even the RC Cola of the shredded wheat aisle — the Malt-o-Meal Frosted Mini Spooners — are 59 percent frosted.

We take to the streets this Tuesday.

Christopher Ingraham, The Washington Post

Box Office

Crazy Rich Asians made $25.2 million this past weekend, crushing projections and cementing the best result for a PG-13 rom-com in six years. The film is the first major studio movie in decades to have an all Asian cast. Over the course of its five day opening the movie’s made $34 million, already north of its $30 million budget. The audience was estimated to be 68 percent women and 38 percent Asian. In a typical movies opening weekend, fewer than 10 percent of the audience is Asian.

Frank Pallotta, CNN and Brooks Barnes, The New York Times

The Utter Lack Of Even The Smallest Box Office

Hey, turns out audiences aren’t flocking to see Kevin Spacey’s schtick anymore. The film Billionaire Boys Club got exiled to VOD in the wake of the sexual abuse allegations against the performer, and its theatrical release this weekend was grim: $126 on Friday and $162 on Saturday. Those are not typos.

Pamela McClintock, The Hollywood Reporter

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Admissions

With MoviePass, uh, trying very hard and doing its very best, AMC theaters have seen their rival movie theater subscription product scooping up new buyers. The company — which already reported 175,000 subscribers in its first five weeks — reported 260,000 subscribers after its seventh, meaning very solid growth in the two weeks that MoviePass has been in the news. AMC reported that subscribers are responsible for 1 million admissions, which is about 4 percent of its U.S. attendance.

Ryan Faughnder, The Los Angeles Times

Charity

An investigation has found that two Dallas area charities that purported to raise money for the families of fallen police officers overwhelmingly diverted donations toward telemarketers and administrators. In July 2016, five Dallas officers were killed in the line of duty and $3.2 million from around the world was donated with the intention of supporting their families. Only 22 percent of that money raised in 2016 and 2017 went to families. For every $100 donated to the Texas Fallen Officer Foundation in 2017, $74 went to telemarketers, $15 to cash reserves, $6 to meals, travel and expenses for the administrators and a mere $5 to families. Nonprofit best practices suggest capping fundraising expenses at at-most 35 percent.

Naomi Martin and Ariana Giorgi, The Dallas Morning News

Baby Food

Americans spend $53 billion on baby food every year, but a Consumer Reports analysis of 50 national packaged foods found concerning levels of cadmium, lead mercury or inorganic arsenic in 68 percent of brands, with 15 having enough to pose potential health risks with a child eating a serving or less per day. While distressing, parents needn’t panic: these trace substances are dangerous because they elevate risk, not because they guarantee health problems. Sixteen brands had levels that were not cause for concern, so all brands can feasibly achieve a clean score.

Jesse Hirsch, Consumer Reports

Inheritance

In California, Proposition 13 has had limited property tax increases since 1978. A tax break added eight years after also extended that tax break to inherited property, meaning that the descendants who receive a home can benefit from paying taxes on what those homes were worth in the mid-seventies. This has allowed wealth to remain with families who were wealthy enough to own a home decades ago, and in Los Angeles County as much as 63 percent of those inherited homes were used as rental properties or second homes in 2017.

Liam Dillon and Ben Poston, The Los Angeles Times

CORRECTION: Aug. 20, 2018: An earlier edition of this story said the property tax deduction resulted from Proposition 19, it was Proposition 13.


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