💧 Disney’s “Avatar”-verse

Friday, September 23, 2022 by Robinhood Snacks |
Back on the big screen (Tong Yu/Getty Images)

Back on the big screen (Tong Yu/Getty Images)

Back on the big screen (Tong Yu/Getty Images)

Back on the big screen (Tong Yu/Getty Images)

Yesterday’s Market Moves
Dow Jones
30,077 (-0.35%)
S&P 500
3,758 (-0.84%)
Nasdaq
11,067 (-1.37%)
Bitcoin
$19,188 (+3.92%)

Hey Snackers,

The stereotype that there’s nothing to do on a cruise except drink has been unofficially confirmed: Norwegian Cruise Line plans to hike the cost of its top-tier unlimited drinks package to $138/day — the highest in the industry (and gratuity’s not included). That’s a lot of margaritas.

Yesterday was another red one for the markets: the techy Nasdaq led declines after several central banks lifted interest rates, including the Bank of England.

Pandora

Déjà vu at the box office… You’re not imagining it: the original “Avatar” is back on big screens this weekend. “Avatar” became the highest-grossing film ever (not adjusted for inflation) when it debuted in 2009, raking in $2.8B globally, and fans demanded a sequel. But Disney inherited “Avatar” when it bought 20th Century Fox in 2019 and has been slow to release a sequel. Now Disney’s generating hype by rereleasing the original in US theaters on Friday:

  • The wait’s (almost) over: “Avatar: The Way of Water,” the first of four planned sequels, is scheduled to debut in December (just 13 years after the OG…).
  • Better than free advertising: Advertising that pays. The rerelease is forecast to earn ~$10M. But it’s also said to include a sneak peek of the sequel, which is already gaining buzz.

Theaters aren’t choosy… because they’re struggling. Industry-wide box-office sales are still 30% lower than prepandemic, and the world’s second-largest theater chain, Regal Cinemas, filed for bankruptcy this month. Part of the problem: big studios like Universal are releasing only some films in theaters and sending others straight to streaming.

  • Fewer blockbusters: Nine movies made $1B at the box office in 2019. But since the pandemic, only two have cracked $1B, and they’re both franchises (“Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “Top Gun: Maverick”). Analysts expect the new “Avatar" to be the third.
THE TAKEAWAY

A bird in the hand could yield two in the bush… By reusing “Avatar” Disney can give the sequel a big boost — for very little cost. It owns the two biggest cinematic universes (“Star Wars” and Marvel) and makes money cross-promoting them with films, shows, parks, and merch. Disney’s rerelease could position the “Avatar” franchise to become its next profitable cinematic universe.

Hole

Mining rigs hit rock bottom… prices. Bitmain, a major manufacturer of the computers that create new bitcoin, said it's slashing the cost of its machines. The fire sale comes as mining-rig prices have already tanked 70% this year. The issue: plunging BTC prices + surging electricity costs = lower profits for mining companies, which means lower demand for new equipment.

  • Stocked: As crypto prices climbed last year, miners rushed to preorder rigs from manufacturers like Bitmain and Canaan to lock in supply. Higher prices = higher incentive to mine.
  • Boxed: As mining costs rise and returns fall, analysts estimate there are up to 500K new rigs sitting in storage in the US alone (almost 40% of all computing power used to mine BTC is US-based).

Mining demand… caves in. The largest US publicly traded BTC miners had $1B in second-quarter losses this year. It's not just bitcoin: ethereum's Merge last week — from proof of work (energy-hungry) to proof of stake (efficient) — means ethereum miners and their expensive rigs are no longer needed. The result: the cost of GPUs for ETH mining fell off a cliff (BTC and ETH miners use different types of computers to unearth digital gold).

THE TAKEAWAY

As crypto evolves, mining must follow… That’s why some ETH miners are leaving the biz altogether, repurposing their powerful machines for cloud computing and AI instead. On the BTC side, efforts like Bitmain's collab with mining giant Merkle Standard (think: jointly owned mining data centers) earlier this year could also show potential paths forward.

Cryptic
  • 📸 Flashy… Nasdaq Inc. wants a taste of crypto. Pending regulatory approval, the corp's getting into the crypto custody biz. Holding institutional investors' coins could be a first step toward launching its own crypto exchange.
  • 🤔 Sus… South Korea issued an arrest warrant for Do Kwon, the founder of the failed TerraUSD algo stablecoin ($40B in investor value lost). The 31-year-old tweeted he's not "on the run," but authorities say they can't find him.
  • đź“ś Official… Speaking of which: US legislators drafted a two-year ban on algo stablecoins like TerraUSD. Nothing's final, but it shows Uncle Sam’s not waiting for another Terra-like collapse to spur regulation.

What else we’re Snackin’

  • Unpack: FedEx said it would hike package rates by an average of 7% after reporting light volumes and plunged profits for last quarter. Investors worry the shipping slowdown is an ominous economic sign.
  • Garlic: There’s no light at the end of the breadstick for Olive Garden parent Darden, whose quarterly profit fell 16% as food and labor costs soared. Darden has been hesitant to pass on higher costs to diners.
  • Pinch: Tesla’s recalling 1.1M cars because windows could pinch riders while closing. Past recalls have been related to safety issues, from self-driving concerns to distracting fart-noise features.
  • Zone: Amazon’s “Thursday Night Football” debut averaged 13M viewers, crushing last year’s NFL Network #s. To drive Prime subs, the Zon is splurging $1B/year through 2033 to be the first streamer with exclusive rights.
  • Ice: Uber-owned alcohol-delivery app Drizly launched an ad platform (think: sponsored results, brand takeovers). Uber, Walmart, Lyft, and Marriott have also expanded digital ad offerings to bring in fresh $$.

Snack Fact of the Day

Over half of Americans with student loans say their mental-health challenges stem from that debt

Friday

  • J. Powell opening remarks at Fed Listens event
  • National Great American Pot Pie Day

Authors of this Snacks own: bitcoin and ethereum and shares of Amazon, Disney, Tesla, Uber, and Walmart

ID: 2440155