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The Box Office Bounces Back


Today’s Topics

3 charts for you today:

  • Is the box office back? The latest data suggests signs of life for the big screen.
  • AMC > GameStop. Reddit traders are at it again.
  • Etsy grows up. Quirky marketplace Etsy has made a big acquisition, and quietly become a huge company in its own right.
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Signs of life

During the peak of COVID-19, the US box office didn’t just slow down — it completely disappeared. So it’s somewhat comforting to see that on May 28th A Quiet Place Part II , the sequel to the successful horror film from 2018, managed to rack up almost $20m on its opening day, and more than $57m over the course of the entire Memorial Day Weekend.

Thanks to data from Box Office Mojo we’ve charted the biggest film at the box office on every day since the start of 2020. A Quiet Place Part II has had the biggest day (and weekend) of any film since the start of the pandemic, ahead of Godzilla vs. Kong , which managed just shy of $13m on its biggest day and way ahead of Tenet ($5m biggest day) and Wonder Woman 1984 ($7.5m biggest day).

To stream, or not to stream

For the movie industry, the success of A Quiet Place Part II will give confidence that the cinemagoing public are keen to get back in front of the big screen. However, it also raises the question — particularly for box office giant Disney — about how best to release movies in a post-pandemic world.

Cruella , which is Disney’s modern reimagining of Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmatians also released last weekend, managing a respectable $26.5m over the 4 days. Interestingly, Cruella was simultaneously released on Disney+ where viewers could pay a $30 fee to watch from the comfort of their own home. So far it’s not obvious what the right balance is between straight-to-streaming, straight-to-box-office or some combination of the two.
In another time we could easily have connected this chart with the last one, but this is 2021, and the surging share price of AMC Theatres — the largest cinema chain in the US — seems to have little to do with the cinema industry, and a lot to do with risk-seeking internet investors.

Indeed, AMC is now up more than 2300% this year. That is a bigger rise in 2021 than even GameStop experienced, which was the original darling of retail investors on reddit and other internet forums.

AMC management have embraced the chaos. They’ve been quick to cash in on the meteoric surge in AMC’s share price, issuing two new rounds of equity, raising $587m in a round on Thursday morning. They’ve even started offering free popcorn to shareholders , leaning way more into the joke than GameStop management ever did.
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This week Etsy, the online marketplace for homemade and vintage gifts and crafts, acquired Depop , the British social shopping app, for $1.6bn .

Sup, fellow kids

Etsy has managed to turn a relatively small e-commerce platform for homemade trinkets and unique gifts into a multi-billion dollar e-commerce giant, which last year grew its revenues 111% , while making $350m of net profit. Fresh off of that growth bump from the pandemic, Etsy clearly wants to get a foothold with the younger generation — which is something that buying Depop gives them overnight, considering that 90% of Depop’s 30 million strong userbase is under the age of 26 .

With Gen Z consumers more focused on sustainability and the environmental impact of their shopping habits, Etsy is, on the surface at least, a good home for Depop.

Social shopping

Depop’s user interface and individual profiles look remarkably similar to Instagram . Square photos, 3 x 3 grids, follower counts, double-tap for likes and many other features make Depop look more like a social media platform than a shopping website. The best complement you can pay a business idea is that, in hindsight, it looked so obvious. Depop fits that description perfectly. Social shopping? Duh.

Data Snacks

1) United Airlines has agreed to purchase 15 supersonic airplanes from Boom , the well-funded startup looking to make supersonic travel commercial again. Don’t expect to be doing London-New York in 3 hours for a while though — even if all goes well — commercial flights aren’t expected to start until 2029 .

2) Meditation app Calm has offered to pay the fines for any tennis players that want to opt out of Grand Slam media appearances after Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open tournament.

3) A piece of orbital debris was found to have hit a robotic arm of the International Space Station earlier this week, highlighting again how space is becoming surprisingly cluttered ( data here ).

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5) This year could be one of the driest ever in California , with officials warning that the state’s reservoirs are 50% lower than they really should be for this time of year.

6) NASA has announced 2 new missions to Venus in a bid to better understand how Venus became an inferno-like planet when it has many characteristics similar to Earth.

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