‘Ni No Kuni’ Is Getting An Anime Movie And It’s Not Being Made By Studio Ghibli


The upcoming ‘Ni no Kuni’ movie will not have the involvement of Studio Ghibli.

Credit: Level-5, Warner Bros.

It was only a matter of time really, the popular anime-infused role-playing game series Ni no Kuni is finally getting an anime movie but Studio Ghibli doesn’t seem to be behind the production.

If you have been following the Ni no Kuni games, the art style was initially overseen by Studio Ghibli with character designs by Yoshiyuki Momose. This gave the games a wonderful visual edge over the competition, something that developer Level-5 leveraged to its full extent.

While the second game saw Studio Ghibli leave the project overall, Momose stayed on as character designer.

So this new movie is interesting in the sense that it retains the same kind of character designs and art style but is not itself a Studio Ghibli production.

Maybe it is because people like Hayao Miyazaki are not the biggest fan of video games or because Level-5 wanted more creative involvement. In any case, we have a new Ni no Kuni movie on the way and it looks pretty great in the latest trailer (shown below).

If you are curious about this movie’s production, the studio behind it now is OLM, Inc. and Momose is the director along with Akihiro Hino of Level-5 as the producer. What’s more, Joe Hisaishi is returning to compose the music.

The story is not from the games either and features all-new characters, so this could up being rather interesting for fans of the series.

Without much in the way of a release date as yet, all we know is that it will be out sometime this Summer. For now, this new Ni no Kuni anime movie looks rather lovely and I am definitely looking forward to seeing it.

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. I also manage Mecha Damashii and do toy reviews over at hobbylink.tv.

Read my Forbes blog here.


Source link

Inside The Making Of J. Cole’s Inaugural Dreamville Festival


Dreamville Festival

AB Gonzalez

It was hard not to feel welcomed when walking around the artists’ lounge at Dreamville Festival. Hugs reunited longtime friends, handshakes introduced new acquaintances, smiles formed out of carefree moments, and plastic bags covered shoes to prevent them from getting soiled by the mud.

The incessant rainfall the day before was an ironic reminder of why the festival was taking place in April of 2019 rather than September of 2018. Though the threat of Hurricane Florence pushed the festival back seven months, nobody seemed to mind.

“It shouldn’t have happened last year, and this is proof,” said Dreamville’s art director, Felton Brown.

Outside of the artists’ hangout were 40,000 ticket holders packed into the 308-acre Dorothea Dix Park for the inaugural Dreamville Festival.

Throughout the day, a growing sea of people ping-ponged between stages to see Teyana Taylor, 6LACK, 21 Savage, Rapsody, Big Sean, J. Cole and – unbeknownst to them at the time – a surprise appearance from Meek Mill.

According to the festival’s representatives, 18% of tickets sold were purchased by Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Durham residents. Buyers came from all 50 states and 12 countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Australia, Serbia and the U.K.

The relationship between Dreamville and festival producer ScoreMore Shows began nearly a decade ago when ScoreMore president Sascha Stone Guttfreund reached out to J. Cole’s booking agent via Myspace. The company has since produced handful of the rapper’s Texas tours, as well as 13 stops on his 4 Your Eyez Only tour.

“The festival was always one of the steps we felt like we needed to get done,” said Dreamville partner Adam Rodney, who relocated from New York to Raleigh to help plan the festival and establish Dreamville’s presence in the city.

Talks of creating the one-day event began three years ago. According to Brown, the initial goal was to sell out of 10,000-15,000 tickets. Quadrupling those expectations makes him hopeful that the festival will turn into a holiday weekend in the city.

Dreamville Festival may expand outside of North Carolina some day, but Raleigh is home for now.

“I’ve met people out there who’ve been fans for 10 years,” Rodney said. “This feels more like a family reunion than anything. We’ve got a bigger venue for all of our family, and I see that family continuing to grow.”


Source link

‘Destiny 2’ Reminds Us How Bad Its Sony Deal Is By Releasing Then Disabling Wavesplitter


Destiny 2’s big Arc Week patch arrived with…a number of issues that needed immediate fixes yesterday. Some players were being rewarded the wrong emote from Eververse bundles which resulted in funny sights like Warlocks twirling Hunter arc staffs. Then there was a brief infinite enhancement core farm as people realized they could do some sort of exploit that got them rewarded pinnacle weapons over and over again they could dismantle. So Bungie shut off all pinnacle weapon quests for the time being.

Then, the most hilarious, tragic glitch of all. For a brief window after the patch went live, players who went to Xur and bought his special engram, one that was just patched to contain Forsaken exotics, were sometimes awarded Wavesplitter, the PS4-exclusive Forsaken exotic, even if they were on PC or Xbox One.

This resulted in a few hours of mad panic as people tried to figure out what was going on, whether the deal with Sony had quietly died and Destiny was now freeing up its exclusive content for its entire playerbase.

But alas, no.

The fix came swiftly, and it’s kind of cruel. This was indeed an accident, no other exclusive stuff like the Broodhold strike went live, and this was just a glitch with the new Xur engram, as Wavesplitter was not dropping in the wild. The good news is that if you got Wavesplitter, you can keep it. The very, very bad news is that if you have it and you’re on PC or Xbox One, you cannot use it until September 2019 when the deal expires.

Bungie probably had no choice but to do this. We don’t know the exact terms of the Sony deal, but one aspect that seems pretty clear is at least a year of timed exclusivity for the PS4-only content. And Bungie can’t just open the floodgates whenever they want, lest they risk legal action and their relationship with Sony.

This has sparked another debate abo the future of the Sony deal and how much all players, even PS4 players, hate it. For five years now we have been having this debate, and players have been hoping that with Bungie leaving Activision and taking Destiny with them, that the Sony deal will die.

It’s clear, however, that the current Sony deal didn’t just get torn up when the Activision split happened, however, and I don’t know if this is something Bungie is going to walk away from regardless. Yes, the originally deal probably was negotiated with Activision, but now without the backing of the megacorp, Bungie is going to need cash more than ever. And so if Sony wants to pay them potentially millions of dollars to withhold a few pieces of content from PC and Xbox players every year, they may be inclined to do that. Even if that generates grumbling and eye-rolling among the playerbase, grumbling and eye-rolling probably does not equal millions in lost sales, so the benefits outweigh the costs.

And yet, it sucks, and very clearly makes the game worse for everyone in small ways. Besides PC and Xbox players not having any access to this content, deals like this mean that even PS4 players have a worse time. Xur cannot sell exclusive Sony exotics. Sony exclusive strikes cannot show up as the Nightfall or be used in quest steps. The content is hard limited in its uses for an entire year until everyone can access it.

I think there are very few players outside of the most die-hard Sony fanboys who want to see this deal stay. But it may make too much financial sense for Bungie to keep taking Sony’s money, so long as it continues to be offered, whether or not Activision is in the picture. We’ll have to wait until this fall to know for sure.

Follow me on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. Read my new sci-fi thriller novel Herokiller, available now in print and online. I also wrote The Earthborn Trilogy.


Source link

A Closer Look At Expedia’s Operating Expenses


The Expedia Inc. logo is displayed on a surfboard at the company’s offices in Hong Kong. Photographer: Anthony Kwan/Bloomberg

© 2017 Bloomberg Finance LP

Expedia‘s overall operating expenses grew 11% year-over-year to $8.5 billion in 2018, largely driven by higher selling and marketing (S&M) and technology and content (T&C) expenses. Going forward, we expect Expedia’s operating expenses to increase by 7% in 2019.

We have created an interactive dashboard on How Expedia’s Operating Expenses Will Grow In 2019, which outlines our forecasts for the company’s operating expenses. You can modify our forecasts to see the impact any changes would have on the company’s operating expenses. In addition, you can also see all of our Information Technology company data here. Expedia’s stock price is up more than 10% since the beginning of 2019. We have maintained our price estimate for Expedia at $126, which is slightly ahead of the current market price.

Selling and Marketing Expense: This primarily relates to direct costs, which includes traffic generation costs from search engines and internet portals, television, radio and print spending; and indirect costs, which includes stock-based compensation costs

  • Expedia incurred $5.7 billion of selling and marketing expenses in 2018. (67% of the total operating expenses)
    • In 2018, direct costs grew 7% y-o-y, driven by ongoing marketing expenses at Expedia Partner Solutions, Hotels.com, and HomeAway (81% of total S&M expense.)
    • Indirect costs grew 17% y-o-y, driven by growth in personnel in the lodging supply organization.
  • S&M expense added $2.4 billion in total operating expenses from 2015 to 2018 (CAGR of 19%)
  • In 2019, we expect the company’s selling and marketing expense to grow at a slower rate and add nearly $150 million to total operating expenses. The company expects a bigger impact on the cost rationalization efforts at Trivago in 2019.

Technology and Content Expense: These costs include product development and content expenses, as well as technology costs to support infrastructure

  • Expedia incurred $1.6 billion of technology and content expenses in 2018 (67% of the total operating expenses).
  • T&C expense added $790 million in total operating expenses from 2015 to 2018 (CAGR of 25%)
  • We expect T&C expense to add nearly $350 million to operating expenses in 2019.
    • This is due to higher cloud cost as well as continued investments in product enhancements and platform initiatives across the company in 2019. Expedia expects cloud expenses to increase from $141 million in 2018 to around $250 million in 2019.

General and Administrative Expense(G&A): These costs include personnel-related costs and fees for external professional services.

  • Expedia incurred $800 million of general and administrative expenses in 2018 (9% of the total operating expenses).
  • G&A expense added $230 million in total operating expenses from 2015 to 2018 (CAGR of 12%).
  • In 2019, we expect G&A expense to add nearly $70 million to operating expenses.

Like our charts? Explore example interactive dashboards and create your own.


Source link

‘Shazam!’ Jumps 61% For $5 Million Tuesday And $65 Million Cume


The bad news is that Shazam! dropped a hearty 78% from Sunday to Monday, which was as large of a drop that I had seen under similar variables (early April biggies and related comic book debuts). The good news is that Shazam! then went up a whopping 61% on Tuesday from its Monday gross, earning $4.9 million yesterday to bring its five-day cume to $64.72 million.

While I’m not going to shout “Biggest Monday-to-Tuesday jump ever!,” I honestly don’t recall such a large bounce outside of holidays (like when Christmas Day falls on a Tuesday). Whether or not folks were just waiting for “cheap ticket day” to check out Shazam! or whether something else was at work, the film made up for relative lost ground on day five.

It has now earned 1.139x its $56.83 million Fri-Sun debut (counting $3.3 million in sneak previews) by day five. That compares to Fast and Furious (1.137x its $70.95 million debut in 2009), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (1.139x its $95 million debut in 2014), Furious 7 (1.18x its $147 million debut in 2015), Fate of the Furious (1.16x its $98.7 million launch in 2017) and A Quiet Place (1.18x its $50.2 million debut on this weekend in 2018).

So the DC Films flick still needs halfway decent holds on Wednesday and Thursday in order to enter its second weekend on equal footing with the recent April mega-movies. That said, it is already in sync (in terms of day-to-day legs) with Winter Soldier, which was leggier than the various Fast and Furious sequels. If it continues to play like Captain America 2, it’ll earn around $3.381 million today and $3.22 million tomorrow for a week-long total of $71.3 million.

If it takes a similar 56% drop in weekend two, then it’ll earn around $25 million this weekend for an over/under $96 million ten-day total. Conversely, if it holds like Rampage (-43% in weekend two in mid-April), it’ll get a $32 million second-weekend gross and pass $100 million domestic on Sunday. Either way, we’re talking about a $90 million-budgeted and kid-friendly superhero flick that has already earned just under double its budget worldwide ($167 million worldwide, not counting whatever it earned overseas on Monday and Tuesday).

It should be at least over $260 million worldwide by Sunday, meaning it’ll be firmly over the “break even” hump by day ten. For the record, Shazam! was never expected to play like Wonder Woman or Aquaman, but that’s why you spend $90 million on a Shazam movie instead of $150 million-to-$200 million. If we really want franchises to work with smaller budgets (which in turn can demand an emphasis on character over spectacle), then we can’t then scream “Failure!” when those films don’t earn as much as the mega-movies.

Sure, Sony pulled off miracles with Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle ($962 million on a $90 million budget) and Venom ($855 million on a $90 million budget), but the $371 million worldwide gross of the $90 million-budgeted Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is just as legitimate, especially considering how good that movie turned out. A lower budget means they can thrive with lower grosses.

It means that unexpected variables, like the relative rejection in China (a $30 million weekend from a $15.9 million Friday) isn’t a fatal problem. It means that even if it gets hammered in two weeks by Peter Parker and the Deathly Hallows Part II, it’ll still have made its money in due time. This is just the kind of distinct and varied genre filmmaking we claim to want from our big franchises.

By the way, many of the folks claiming failure for Shazam! are the same folks who swore that Aquaman was doomed after a $72 million late-December debut, since they clearly had no idea how Christmas box office functions and had to sit in a corner when Aquaman legged it to $335 million domestic (becoming the leggiest live-action superhero movie in 25 years). I don’t want to say “I told you so,” but… I did.


Source link

Expect A Weak Fiscal 2018 For Bed Bath & Beyond


Customers enter a Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. store in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photographer: Logan Cyrus/Bloomberg

© 2018 Bloomberg Finance LP

Bed Bath & Beyond is scheduled to announce its fiscal fourth quarter results on Wednesday, April 10. The retailer expects its fourth quarter revenues to decline in the high single-digits. This is largely due to mixed holiday-season sales results, with revenue declining at its physical stores and rising only modestly in the online channel. In addition, the fiscal calendar shift also resulted in the movement of the post-Thanksgiving week from the fourth quarter into the third quarter. For full-year 2018, Bed Bath & Beyond now expects its comparable sales growth to decline by 1%, compared to a previous outlook of flat growth. Bed Bath & Beyond continues to expect to open a net 20 new stores (with the majority being buybuy BABY and Cost Plus World Market stores) and close approximately 40 stores (with the majority being Bed Bath & Beyond stores) for fiscal 2018.

We have created an interactive dashboard on what to expect from Bed Bath & Beyond’s fiscal Q4 and fiscal 2018, which outlines our forecasts for the company. You can change the expected revenue, operating margins and net margin figures for the company to gauge how it will impact its earnings. In addition, you can also see more Trefis Consumer Discretionary company data here.

Detailing Fiscal 2018 Forecast

We expect Bed Bath & Beyond to report flat revenues in 2018. We also expect margin pressure to continue through fiscal 2018, due to an increase in net direct-to-customer shipping expense, growth in coupon expense, and continued investment in the company’s customer value proposition. This includes the impact from BEYOND+ and College Savings Pass programs, as well as the ongoing shift to its digital channels. In addition, Bed Bath & Beyond’s EPS figure declined more than 35% y-0-y in fiscal 2017 to $3.04. We expect the company’s earnings to witness declining trends in fiscal 2018 as well.

Like our charts? Explore example interactive dashboards and create your own


Source link

Watch The Magnificent New Live-Action ‘Lion King’ Trailer For A First Look At Timon And Pumbaa


Lion King

The new live-action ‘Lion King’ trailer looks fantastic, and gives us our first glimpse of Timon and Pumbaa, Scar and the Hyenas and an adorable Simba.Credit: Disney

A new trailer for Disney’s live-action remake of The Lion King just dropped and it’s quite something. While the term “live-action” must be used rather loosely here, given these are all CGI beasts, it looks quite good—very much in keeping with The Jungle Book live-action remake.

That makes sense, given both films are directed by Jon Favreau.

Here’s the new trailer:

So, first of all, young Simba is way too adorable in this movie. Seriously, I’m getting a bit worried that he’s too cute and that the whole part with the stampede will be even more emotional this time around.

Also, while I loved Jeremy Irons as Scar in the Disney original, Chiwetel Ejiofor sounds like he plays the villain with a bit more subtlety. Ejiofor’s Scar is more understated, more sympathetic, more like the type of wicked uncle that could fool Hamlet into thinking he was an okay guy, who could wed Gertrude because nobody suspects him of killing the king.

Finally, we get our first glimpse of Timon and Pumbaa played by Billy Eichner and Seth Rogan respectively. Both actors have about as distinct of voices as you can imagine, but we only really hear them singing in this trailer. Of all the voices from the original, these will be the ones I have the hardest time replacing. The original actors, Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella, delivered iconic performances.

Of course, the one irreplaceable voice from the original is that of Mufasa, played by James Earl Jones. Thankfully, Jones reprises his role in the remake. Meanwhile, Donald Glover replaces Matthew Broderick as Simba and Beyonce replaces Moira Kelly as Nala.

The new Lion King roars into theaters on September 29th, 2019.



Source link

What Impacted GameStop’s Q4 Results?


Signage is displayed at a GameStop Corp. store in Oswego, Illinois, on Monday, April 1, 2019. (Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

© 2019 Bloomberg Finance LP

GameStop Inc (NYSE:GME) recently posted its Q4 FY 2018 results, which were below our estimates, as the pre-owned video games sales plummeted. Below we outline some of the key takeaways from the company’s earnings, and our estimates for 2019.

How Did GameStop Perform Over Q4?

  • GameStop’s Q4 revenue stood at $3 billion, down 13% year-over-year.
  • Pre-owned video games sales were down 21% while new video game hardware and software sales declined by 10% and 8%, respectively.
  • The company divested its Spring Mobile business last year, which also impacted the y-o-y growth.
  • Adjusted net income stood at $164 million for the quarter, compared to $205 million in Q4 FY’17
  • The company saw strong 19% growth in the video game accessories business, which has been trending well of late.
  • The overall gross margins narrowed during the quarter, due to lower pre-owned video games sales, which offers higher margins.

What Impacted The Sales In 2018?

  • New consoles, such as Nintendo Switch, launched in 2017, spurred video games hardware sales for GameStop.
  • The sales have cooled in subsequent years, thereby impacting the company’s new video game hardware revenues.
  • Lower hardware sales have impacted the new video game software sales.
  • Fewer title releases in 2018 when compared to 2017 have also impacted the sales.
  • Video game accessories sales growth was led by higher demand for audio-related and battle royale (gaming genre) related accessories.

What’s The Outlook For GameStop For Fiscal 2019?

  • Expect revenues to decline 2% to $8.1 billion in fiscal 2019.
  • Continued growth in video game accessories, and collectibles should offset some of the declines expected in other segments.
  • Margins could see further pressure with lower mix of pre-owned video games sales.
  • Lower revenues and margins will result in adjusted earnings of $1.08 per share in fiscal 2019, as compared to $2.70 per share in fiscal 2018, in our view.
  • Our price estimate of $12 for GameStop is based on a 11x forward price to earnings multiple.




Source link

Cardi B’s Debut Album Turns 1 — A Look At Its Gold And Platinum Awards A Year In


LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 10: Cardi B attends the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2019, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)


If someone who didn’t know who Cardi B was looked at all the gold and platinum plaques the singer and rapper’s Invasion of Privacy has already earned, they might assume the album is several years old, and that it was released by a seasoned music industry veteran. Surely no new artist could see one title become so successful in such a meaningful way in such a short period of time, right?

The number of awards Cardi B’s first full-length has earned from the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America, the organization tasked with certifying songs and albums gold, platinum and so on) is astounding, and it’s even more impressive considering the short time span in which the title has racked them all up.

The Album

Just yesterday, Invasion of Privacy was officially certified triple platinum by the RIAA for moving three million copies. Amazingly, the title went gold, platinum and even double-platinum in only four months, though it did require another half a year before it went from two to three million units shifted. While consumption of the record has slowed, it’s only a matter of time before it eventually becomes a quadruple-platinum item.

The Singles

Two million copies in less than a year is impressive for any album, but it’s the singles that have really racked up the honors from the RIAA. Collectively, the certifications the songs featured on Invasion of Privacy have already garnered add up to an incredible 23 million units. For clarification, that means that in the U.S. alone in just the first year of availability (though a few tracks were released before then, to be fair), the 13 tracks on the album have shifted at least 23 million units, and the total count is likely higher by now.

Leading the way is Cardi B’s breakout smash “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves),” which has now been certified seven-times platinum. Right behind that blockbuster is another, “I Like It” with Bad Bunny and J Balvin. That tune has already been certified six-times platinum, and either, or possibly both, have more awards coming their way in the not-too-distant future.

Three songs (“Be Careful,” “Ring” with Kehlani and “Bartier Cardi” with 21 Savage) have gone double platinum, while two others (“I Do” with SZA and “Drip” with Migos) are platinum-certified hits. The remaining half dozen tracks on the album (“Get Up 10,” “Bickenhead,” “Money Bag,” “Best Life” with Chance the Rapper, “She Bad” with YG and “Thru Your Phone”) have all collected a gold certification, which makes sense, as none of them were promoted as proper singles.

History: Made

At the end of last year, Invasion of Privacy became just the second album in history to see every single song featured on its tracklist earn some form of certification from the RIAA, from gold to seven-times platinum. It followed in the footsteps of Twenty One Pilots’ Blurryface, which first managed the feat earlier in 2018.

In addition to being the second full-length to earn this distinction, Invasion of Privacy also became the first album by a woman, the first hip-hop record, and the first debut to complete this incredible accomplishment. It also collected all those gold and platinum plaques faster than Blurryface, as Cardi B’s first proper studio album needed less than a full year to prove how popular it was in the U.S. to the RIAA.


Source link

In Europe, Shrinking Debt Cushion Could Hit Leveraged Loan Investors Harder


Recoveries on leveraged loans in cases of default are likely to be lower in Europe than in the U.S. because European loans have less of a debt cushion, according to a first-quarter report by S&P.

It is certainly the case that European capital structures have lower levels of subordinated debt than their

The ‘debt cushion’ is big factor in recoveries on leveraged loans, in cases of default. The more subordinated debt there is, the better the recovery for senior debt holders.


U.S. counterparts, due to a number of differences between the two markets. But while the consensus is that this will lead to lower recovery rates in Europe, not everyone is certain this will play out as expected.

In the analysis, the agency says the weighted recovery prospect a first-lien leveraged loan are 58% in Europe and 64% in the U.S., with the difference primarily due to debt cushions.

Looking at all new-issue loans in the U.S. and European markets, the debt cushions in 2018 were 20% and 12%, respectively (for reference, LCD defines ‘debt cushion’ as the share of debt that is subordinated to the first-lien term loans). Moreover, since 2007 there has been a far greater reduction in the debt cushion in Europe, of almost 50%, with the U.S. measure falling by roughly a third.

There has also been a sharp decline in the debt cushion in Europe over the last five years, though it did rise last year to 14%, from 9% in 2017 — the first time it had risen in Europe since 2012.

The trend is similar but less pronounced when looking only at LBO capital structures, with the current 5% differential between the U.S. (19%) and European (14%) cushions marking a low for this decade. This is largely due to a rise in the debt cushion for Europe last year.

Much of the reason for the increased debt cushion in Europe in 2018 — and for the measure being regularly lower than in the U.S. — is due to the appetite for second-lien leveraged loan debt, and to some extent the nuances of the respective high-yield markets in these regions.

Try LCD for Free! News, analysis, data

Follow LCD on Twitter.

LCD comps is an offering of S&P Global Market Intelligence. LCD’s subscription site offers complete news, analysis and data covering the global leveraged loan and high yield bond markets. You can learn more about LCD here.


Source link