In $121M debut, ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ and Disney flex their might

“Thor: Ragnarok” thundered to one of the year’s best box-office debuts with an estimated $121 million domestically, proving again — just as its flexing its muscle — the might of the Walt Disney Co.

The robust debut for Marvel’s third “Thor” movie was a welcome shot in the arm for Hollywood and theater owners who have suffered through a terrible October at the box office. “Thor: Ragnarok” also bucked the trend of diminishing returns for sequels. The 2011 “Thor” debuted with $65.7 million; 2013’s “Thor: The Dark World” opened with $85.7 million.

“In this business, it’s not often you see the second and third installments in the franchise outpacing the previous issue,” said David Hollis, Disney’s distribution chief. “You don’t expect never-ending returns when it comes to sequels, but it definitely speaks to the quality of the talent at the Marvel Studios team and the way they’re thinking about each film out of the gate.”

The weekend’s other new nationwide release, STX Entertainment’s “A Bad Moms Christmas,” opened with $17 million over the weekend and $21.6 million since opening Wednesday, according to studio estimates Sunday. The holiday-themed sequel, which returns stars Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn, came in shy of the 2016 original’s $23.8 million opening.

Disney isn’t alone in being able to roll out such blockbusters but three of the year’s five $100 million-plus releases are theirs. (Disney’s other two are “Beauty and the Beast” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”) The studio has recently, as reported by The Wall Street Journal earlier this week, pushed new terms to theater owners, saying it will demand a 65 percent cut of ticket sales for its upcoming “Star Wars” film “The Last Jedi,” as opposed to the more typical 60 percent.

Hollis declined to discuss the studio’s negotiations with theaters but said, “We’re hopeful that our big films will help drive our mutual success.”

The Los Angeles Times also said Friday that Disney barred its critic from attending “Thor: Ragnarok” after the paper published an investigative report about Disneyland’s business ties with the city of Anaheim. In a statement Friday, Disney said that the two-piece report showed “a complete disregard for basic journalistic standards.”

The issue of revenue splitting is an acute one for theater owners who are already fighting against up-and-down ticket sales and mounting competition from streaming outlets. Disney plans to launch a streaming service in 2019 that will include some film releases.

It’s often been feast or famine this year at the box office. August was historically dismal, September swung to record-breaking highs, and October again badly slumped with the lowest overall gross in a decade. The year is running down 4.8 percent off last year’s record pace according to comScore.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore, expects November will, thanks to “Thor,” Warner Bros.’ “Justice League” and the Disney-Pixar release “Coco,” swing back up.

“It’s like a tennis match. We’re up. We’re down. It’s not for the faint of heart,” Dergarabedian said. “The industry has its work cut out for it to make up that nearly 5 percent deficit as we hit the home stretch of what has been an incredibly volatile box-office year.”

The huge “Thor” opening also cements the unlikely breakthrough of New Zealand director Taika Waititi, who shepherded the $180 million production to Marvel’s best reviews since 2008’s “Iron Man.” The movie scored a 93 percent fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes and an “A” CinemaScore from audiences.

Waititi, 42, is a veteran of the cult comedy series “Flight of the Concords” and has previously directed largely offbeat irreverent indies like the deadpan vampire tale “What We Do in the Shadows” and the oddball outlaw comedy “Hunt for the Wilderpeople.”

But the makers of some franchise tentpoles have increasingly turned to more irreverent filmmakers to lend their blockbusters a more comic swagger. The results have been mixed. Phil Lord and Chris Miller departed the stand-alone Han Solo film after creative disagreements, as did original “Ant-man” helmer Edgar Wright.

Yet “Thor: Ragnarok,” from a screenplay by Eric Pearson, had no such troubles in returning Chris Hemsworth in the titular role along with franchise regular Tom Hiddleston as Loki. Also brought in was Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie and Cate Blanchett, as the film’s villain, Hela.

Several films opened in limited release, including Greta Gerwig’s coming-of-age tale “Lady Bird,” with Saoirse Ronan. On four screens in New York and Los Angeles, the A24 release drew some of the most packed theaters of the year with a $93,903 per-screen average.

Rob Reiner’s “LBJ,” with Woody Harrelson, debuted with $1.1 million in 659 theaters. Richard Linklater’s “Last Flag Flying,” with Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell and Laurence Fishburne, brought in a per-screen average of $10,500 in four theaters.

Latest Advancements in the Department of In-Flight Entertainment are the Latest Rage

The competition in airlines industry is encouraging companies to come up with innovative ideas to serve their customers better, and charm them. The companies are leaving no stone unturned to create value for their passengers in whichever way possible. Some industry players bet on their price by offering cheap business class tickets or discounted air fare rates, while others focus on their efficiency, connectivity, and services.

Few of the services are very basic that almost every airlines follow like serving food and beverages even for a short duration flight. However, a very important customer service agenda that should be given enough importance is in-flight entertainment or what is commonly known as IFE. This can prove to be a very valuable tool to provide services par excellence to the passengers. IFE is not just related to television shows and movies, but it has a very wider aspect if looked upon closely.

Here are the prominent benefits of implementing in-flight entertainment for passengers as well as airlines –

  1. The unique requirements of the airlines can be met by appointing expert audio teams of IFE service providers, who can provide channels tailored to specific preferences. For instance, if your company is more popular amongst business travelers, then for them entertainment channels can be utter waste of time and beyond their interest. For them, you can opt for business channels or news channels. Likewise, for holidaymakers, their taste of entertainment can be vastly different.
  1. The audio teams of IFE providers who are associated with people from music industry or radio will have strong contacts with the popular record labels, which means that you can create a vast song library in your flight audio system.
  1. Top in-flight audio systems use eminent radio DJs who are well known and admired by people. Channels hosted by leading DJs bring lot of style and added quality to channels.
  1. By installing audio channels in the flight, companies can use this platform brilliantly for promotional activities. You can advertise on-board merchandises and services to the customers such as duty free products, new routes, and destinations covered.
  1. Having a huge library of tracks implies that broad range of music genres can be enjoyed by the passengers on-board. This will cover all jazz, pop, rock, classical, and simple listening.
  1. Even audio books can be of lot of value to the passengers. People love audio books and with this you can offer a different experience to flight boarders apart from music. This can work phenomenally well for long flights.
  1. Instead of just confining to audio music, by giving your customers an option to enjoy music videos, you can entertain them even more.
  2. There is a very interesting concept called pzzizz available for airlines. Passengers wanting to relax and have a peaceful sleep will love this product. This is definitely like going one step forward to serve your customers.

All the aforementioned points will be beneficial to passengers as they can enjoy their travel with these entertainment provisions on-board, while airline companies can promote this aspect as their USP and attract more people to choose their flight.

Know How Smartphone Apps Can Be Convenient for Travellers TRAVEL & FOOD

There are several smartphone apps for travellers that come handy, and they are of great use before you leave and also when you are on the road. Almost all gadgets now come with apps, which directly or indirectly can be beneficial for you on your trip such as compass, alarm clock, calculator, weather and many more.

But, you can additionally increase the utility of your gadget by installing a few more apps like restaurant finders, currency converters, translators, landmark guides, news readers etc. Here is a list of few conveniences that these smartphone apps offer to the travellers –

  1. Maps and Navigation

The presence of GPS on most of the Smartphones is the real benefit for travellers. This app means that your phone can help you navigate even through unfamiliar locations with at most ease. And the best part is that Android apps like Google Maps don’t cost anything, it just strengthens the phone’s appeal and learning how to take advantage of these apps can help you use your phone’s functionalities to the fullest.

  1. All the Information That You Need Is Available at Your Finger Tips

Whether you are driving, flying or using public transport, smartphones are something worth having. With the help of few apps, you cannot just hire taxi or navigate your way or track mileage, but also book flight tickets. All you need to know is the reliable websites that can ease your job. For instance, http://cheapbusinessclasstickets.co.ukcan be used to book cheap business class tickets with great ease. Having the power at your fingertips feels great and these apps can suppress most of your travelling stress.

  1. Apps Save Money and Time

Smartphone apps have drastically reduced the cost of travelling and this is because travel service providers send information about all the deals and offers to their clients who are actively using their app. You can plan your whole trip by just going through the deals and promotions on your smart phones and also by helping you save some valuable time.

  1. Apps Keep You Connected

Until the invention of smartphones, being away or on holiday always meant out of touch where the connection was dependent on phone calls and messages. And, even if you had Wi-Fi enabled laptop, you could use it only if you had access to hotspot. A Smartphone not only lets you send messages and make calls, but it also supports several instant messaging apps. You can instantly send emails, use social networking sites, and do many other works with great ease with just a tap and swipe.

But, you must remember that many apps demand internet connectivity, but it is not that big a deal as most of the popular tourist destinations in the world do have Wi-Fi hotspots and even when you are roaming internationally, the charges won’t be that high. However, you must make it a point not to download/update too many apps on-the-move to avoid heavy data usage charges.