Numlock News: October 4, 2021 • Pandora, Venom, Jeopardy!

By Walt Hickey

Welcome back!

Let There Be No Time To Die: The Legend of the Many Saints Of Newark

It was a stellar weekend for the box office and one of the most hopeful times for the exhibition business in a while: the new James Bond flick No Time To Die opened to $119.1 million across 54 markets in its foreign rollout, a record-setting number (it’s the first pandemic movie to open to $100 million overseas without China). Then in the domestic market, Venom: Let There Be Carnage made $90.1 million, a theater-exclusive hit that numbers among Black Widow and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings in terms of performance. That means the sequel beat the first Venom’s opening of $80 million, a film that went on to gross $856 million, and since this is Venom the operative word being “gross.” The success of the pair of films — one about a ruthless, arguably villainous killer who uses violence to try to take control of Earth, and the other about Venom — is outstanding news for the recovery of the cinema.

Rebeca Rubin, Variety and Pamela McClintock, The Hollywood Reporter

Eagles

A gigantic eagle that escaped its enclosure at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh was found safe Sunday afternoon in Pine, Pennsylvania. The Steller’s sea eagle, Kody, is 15 to 20 pounds and escaped his habitat on September 25. The city has been on the lookout for Kody all week — native to coastal northeastern Asia and with a diet of fish and water birds, the banks of the Allegheny are not exactly a taste of home, and handlers were worried about Kody’s ability to hunt and overall safety. Multiple sightings of the raptor helped bring him in safe. In bad news, reports indicate that following Kody’s recapture, Gandalf still remains stuck on top of Orthanc.

John Hayes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and Michael Divittorio, TribLIVE

Takeoff

The Federal Aviation Administration and NASA have made a new system to make takeoffs and landings easier at airports, a system designed to reduce traffic on the tarmac and make the taxi process more efficient. Inputs include 11 real-time variables from airlines, and the early pilot program had phenomenal results in Charlotte: the FAA spent four years testing it with American Airlines, and reduced taxiing times enough to save 275,000 gallons of fuel a year, cut carbon emissions by 2,900 tons, and reduced delays by 40 minutes a day for passengers. The plan is to roll out the software to the 27 busiest airports in the country starting next year.

Aarian Marshall, Wired

Jeopardy!

On Friday, Matt Amodio logged his 33rd win on Jeopardy!, beating James Holzhauer’s run and securing the second-longest winning streak in the history of the program, and with $1,267,801 in the bank coming in at No. 3 all time on the financial front. His style is understood as a fusion of the Daily Double-seeking style that defined Holzhauer’s run and the willingness to guess and guess well that defined Ken Jennings’ stint. Amodio’s found 74 percent of Daily Doubles in his games, which would put him between the 71 percent of Jennings and the 77 percent of Holzhauer’s runs, which is a good indicator of both trivia talent and buzzer speed.

Claire McNear, The Ringer

Pandora’s Box

A cache of 11.9 million files from the companies employed by the ultra-wealthy to squirrel income offshore have been leaked, files that contain details about the finances of over 100 billionaires, 35 current and former world leaders who have hidden wealth abroad as well as 300 public officials from over 90 countries. The 2.94 terabytes of data exceeds even the 2016 Panama papers (2.6 terabytes) and 2017 Paradise papers (1.4 terabytes). Among the revelations were the $100 million property empire of the ruler of Jordan, the £400 million of property held by the ruling family of Azerbaijan, as well as dealings of the president of Cyprus and the prime minister of the Czech Republic.

The Guardian

Email

A new study found that emails sent outside of work hours can be a significant source of anxiety and misunderstood intentions. The research, published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, set up an experiment that asked email senders to log how quickly they hoped a recipient would respond to a non-urgent after hours email, and then asked recipients to log how quickly they thought the sender wanted a response. Receivers assumed they needed to respond 36 percent faster than the email sender actually expected, an overestimate the researchers called “email urgency bias.”

Laura Giurge and Vanessa Bohns, The Wall Street Journal

China

The Chinese box office has long been a target of Hollywood, but the latest data is pretty grim for the Western film business. In 2019, U.S. films accounted for 32 percent of China’s box office, a figure that is down to just 15 percent this year. So far just 17 American films have seen a China release, which is down from 30 films released last year and 52 released back in 2019, which itself was down from the high of 63 released back in 2018. This year’s film blackout — an annual event designed to give local films a leg up — was bigger than usual and took place during the 100-year anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party.

Christopher Palmeri and Shirley Zhao, Bloomberg

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