Numlock News: December 24, 2018

By Walt Hickey

This is the last original Numlock News of 2018! Wednesday through New Year’s Day will be Best-ofs, several particularly good Numlock Sunday specials and a fun feature. Thank you all for a truly outstanding year, it’s been a supreme delight. See you on Jan. 2, 2018!

Aquaman?

Aquaman was the most popular film at the domestic box office this past weekend, which is the kind of sentence you want to take with you if you ever get near a time machine. The film made $72 million, beating out Bumblebee and Mary Poppins Returns. That Poppins only hit number two means it’s one of the worst openings for Disney of the year, but again just a reminder we are living in a bizarre timeline where Aquaman has made $482.8 million so what do I know. The real winner of this movie is Hawkeye, a Marvel character with a bow and an arrow who fights bad guys on a team of gods and super-scientists called the Avengers, because if Aquaman can make a half billion dollars internationally, why the heck can’t he?

Rebecca Rubin, Variety

Palladium

Palladium, a precious metal, is now beating out gold on price, now selling for $1,277 per ounce compared to $1,253.5 for gold. About 80 percent of the palladium in the world ends up in cars, specifically their exhaust systems. The element is essential in turning toxic pollutants into slightly less toxic pollutants like carbon dioxide. With governments cracking down on exhaust and Europe rotating away from diesel vehicles — which use platinum instead of palladium — the mining by-product is now in top demand. I bring this up today because in the song Santa Baby, the singer asks for the “deed to a platinum mine,” and this remains a savvy investment as palladium is a by-product of mining platinum, and you should continue taking financial advice from that song.

Rupert Rowling and Eddie van der Walt, Bloomberg

Chinese Food

Tomorrow is a lot of things to a lot of people, but for many Jewish people it’s a day to go to a Chinese food restaurant. On any given day, interest in Chinese food on Yelp is around 3 percent of all page views. On Christmas that jumps to 7 percent of page views. Indeed, Christmas day is the single biggest day for Chinese food searches on Google, a modern signal of a decades-old tradition between two communities once numbered among the largest non-Christian immigrant populations to the U.S.

Claire Tran and Nicole Javorsky, CityLab

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This past Sunday was a look at Christmas movies and the end of 2018 with Joanna Piacenza of Morning Consult, check it out!

I’ll Show You The Meaning Of Last Minute

The final Saturday before Christmas is massive, with the projected $26 billion spent by Americans topping spending on Black Friday as well as the same Saturday last year. The current projection has holiday spending up 4.8 percent compared to last year. Growth online has been particularly large this year, up an estimated 18 percent over last year. But now we’re in the real rough and tumble of it, Christmas Eve. No Amazon can bail me out now as I will gird my loins and jump into the bareknuckle capitalism of Macy’s on 34th Street on Christmas Eve to finish off the last of my holiday shopping.

Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN Business

Now Exiting Marwen

Robert Zemekis’ Welcome to Marwen, which you probably know as the doll movie with Steve Carell, tanked at the box office and pulled $2.4 million from 1,191 cinemas. That is the worst opening of a major studio release in 2018, tying with Action Point, a film in which Johnny Knoxville attempts to operate an amusement park. Marwen cost $49 million before marketing and is projected to lose $50 million for the studio total.

Pamela McClintock, The Hollywood Reporter

Sears

Sears filed for bankruptcy in October and really needed a good holiday season to survive. It’s not going to get that. The budget filed then forecasted sales of $1.7 billion over the seven-week holiday season, which would add $400 million to its cash reserves. By the end of November, those sales estimates fell by $225 million, and Sears figured it would actually burn cash through the holidays. A big week before Christmas would net Sears a hoped-for $50 million in cash for the entire holiday season; if it misses that, its odds of survival shrink even further.

Chris Isidore, CNN Business

Commercial Launches

Sunday was a milestone for SpaceX, which capped off 2018 with its 21st launch of 2018, a company record. The Falcon 9 rocket transported the most powerful GPS satellite ever built into orbit for the Air Force, one that is three times more powerful than the previous version.

The Associated Press


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Previous Sunday special editions: 2018  ·  Game of Thrones  ·  Signal Problems · CTE and Football · Facebook · Shark Repellent · Movies · Voting Rights · Goats · Invitation Only · Fat Bear Week · Weinersmith · Airplane Bathrooms ·  NIMBYs ·  Fall 2018 Sports Analytics ·  The Media  ·  Omega-3  ·  Mattress Troubles  ·  Conspiracy Theorists  ·  Beaches  ·  Bubbles  ·  NYC Trash  ·  Fish Wars  ·  Women’s Jeans  ·  Video Stores

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