July 17, 2023

Today's Topics

Hello! The chart plotting the number of Chartr team members showed a profound uptick this morning, thanks to the additions of Millie and Eva to the team — welcome! Today we're exploring:

  • Reely long: Are movies getting longer? (Yes, a bit).
  • Keeping up: It's been a while, but pay rises are finally starting to match inflation.
  • H&M: The fashion giant is facing stiffer competition.
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Once upon a time in Hollywood

This week's release of Christopher Nolan’s bombshell biopic, Oppenheimer, will undoubtedly make an impact on cinemas globally — if viewers can make it through the entire runtime without too many comfort breaks.

In an interview with Total Film Magazine, Nolan revealed that Oppenheimer will be his longest film yet, at just shy of 3 hours. That's even longer than the director's 2014 epic Interstellar, which warped time in both its plot and reality with a 169 minute runtime, aligning the ballistic launch of Oppenheimer with the trajectory of blockbuster movies becoming lengthier in recent years.

Reely long

As reported by Chartr in 2022, based on the average run time of the 10 most popular movies at the US box office for each year from 1995–2022, the highest grossing films have been trending towards getting longer. In fact, that trend was most pronounced last year, with the average runtime of the 10 biggest blockbusters coming in at 136 minutes. From 1995-1999, the top films averaged a 117 minute runtime, suggesting we've come to expect at least 15-20 minutes more movie.

In Oppenheimer's case, even the physical IMAX reel of the film itself is a behemoth — stretched end-to-end it's over 11 miles long and weighs some 600 pounds. The Barbie movie, thankfully, is a little lighter in runtime, coming in at just 1 hour 54 minutes.

Last week, there was a modest respite from surging inflation, as prices rose only 3% compared to the previous year. That was the slowest pace in over 2 years, down substantially from the 9% surge experienced in June last year.

Can’t keep up

The slowdown in inflation is good news for workers. Indeed, although hourly earnings have generally increased, they haven’t been keeping pace with inflation — until recently.

The latest data reveals that American workers' earnings grew at a healthy rate of 4.2% in the last 12 months, marking the first time in over 2 years that raises have not been wiped out by soaring prices. Workers in sectors like leisure, hospitality, and manufacturing saw a more pronounced impact, with wages rising relatively faster, while the tech-heavy information sector has seen narrower pay gains — with headlines dominated by rounds of layoffs at big tech companies.

At an individual level, it’s hard to interpret the news as anything but positive, though the data somewhat complicates the Federal Reserve’s upcoming interest rate decisions. Some economists argue that rising wages can lead to further inflation, as companies raise prices to offset, creating another cycle of price hikes.

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Homeware & Makeup

H&M is switching up its physical presence, meaning malls near you could soon be littered with more stores specifically dedicated to the Swedish retailer’s beauty and home departments. This shift comes at a time when, as the Wall Street Journal noted, the fashion group has been shutting hundreds of its clothes-only outlets over the last few years.

While the first stand-alone H&M Home store opened in 2018, the company has really upped its presence on the global high-street scene since, and beauty could be next on the new agenda. Indeed, the company recently opened two flagship stores in Norway where customers can expect to enjoy “beauty bars, inspirational products, and help and advice from in-store beauty advisers".

OutSHEIN

The physical store pivot is interesting in the context of H&M’s recent history. The group, which is also behind brands like COS, & Other Stories, and Monki, has seen sales lag behind competitors in recent quarters, as younger consumers increasingly look to online brands to supply their fast fashion fixes. The retailer might be hoping that, by diversifying its physical store offerings and possibly moving more of the clothes-focused business online, it can recapture its youthful demographic.

Chinese fast fashion retailer SHEIN, for example, has proved stiff competition in the last few years, with the clothes maker’s market more than double that of H&M. It’s certainly captured online attention — notably among Gen Z and TikTokers — with YouTube search data showing SHEIN far ahead of H&M as people trawl the site to see try-on videos and hauls from the ultra-cheap outlet.

More Data

Not so funny: The number of TV comedies on broadcast networks prime time slots has fallen from 31 in 2012 to just 14 last year — and only 10 are on the broadcast lineup for this fall.

Elon Musk has tweeted confirming that Twitter is still cash flow negative and has had a 50% drop in advertising revenue.

• Struggling to sleep? This 51-minute reading of Instagram’s terms of service is specifically designed to help you drift off.

Hi-Viz

• Mapping why some places call it tea and others call it cha.

• Charting how quickly presidential candidates are burning through their donations.

Off the charts: What hit $2 billion in November, and has just reached $900m after last weekend? [Answer below].

Answer here.

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