“Black Panther” Has the Biggest President’s Day Box Office with $40.2M

Chadwick Boseman in 'Black Panther' (Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki)

Chadwick Boseman in ‘Black Panther’ (Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki)

The highly-anticipated Marvel movie “Black Panther” opened last Thursday night, and has already broken records.

“Black Panther” made $40.2M on President’s Day, making it the biggest Monday ever. The record was previously held by “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 2016, which made $40.1M.

“Black Panther” also made the second-most amount of money in its first four days of opening with $241.6M. The movie now holds the record for the biggest President’s Day weekend opening, “Deadpool” was the previous recordholder, making $152M in 2016. The only movie that made more within its first four days was (you guessed it) “The Force Awakens, which made $288.1M.

Among movie theater chain AMC, the movie became the highest-grossing title in the chain’s history for 80 theaters, which accounts for over 10% of the chain’s theaters. The movie opened in 661 theaters.

Worldwide, “Black Panther” made $426.6M. The movie has yet to open in China, Japan and Russia.

 

Trends: Companies Expanding Maternity/Paternity Leave Policies

Netflix 2014 logo (Under Consideration)

Netflix 2014 logo (Under Consideration)

A very positive trend has sprung up recently: Companies are their expanding parental leave policies. The main goal is to recruit more women with work-life balance policies, and to retain talent by allowing time off for family matters. Because trouble at home often means distracted employees and lower productivity. (I feel like that’s on a modern-day Mather Work Incentive poster somewhere.)

Big strides have been made this year: Consulting powerhouse Accenture bumped up its maternity leave policy to 16 weeks in March, which applies to both full-time and part-time employees. In April, Johnson & Johnson announced a new eight-week paid leave policy. In June, major bank Goldman Sachs began offering new fathers and “non-primary caregivers” four weeks of paid leave. (The company currently offers 16 weeks of paid maternity leave.) The U.S. Navy and Marines mandated an 18-week maternity leave policy, effective immediately, in July.

This trend has become especially prevalent in the tech industry, with a lot of changes occurring just this past month. In August, Microsoft recently announced a new parental leave policy, in which employees would get paid at 100% of their salary for 12 weeks. New mothers will have eight weeks of paid maternity leave, which, combined with disability leave, could entitle them to 20 weeks of paid leave.

Adobe’s policy also changed: Mothers will now receive 26 weeks of paid leave, up from the nine weeks off from the previous policy. It’ll be a combination of medical leave (10 weeks) and paternal leave (16 weeks).

Netflix announced they’re bumping up their maternity and paternity leave policies to an unlimited amount of time. New mothers and fathers are allowed to take as much time off as they like during a child’s first year, whether though birth or adoption. (Netflix isn’t a stranger to expanding time off: Employees already get unlimited vacation time.) But the policy isn’t all inclusive: It only applies toward salaried employees, so hourly workers aren’t able to take advantage of it.

It’ll be interesting to see if (when) other companies follow suit, and if paid parental leave will eventually be federally mandated. These are definitely steps in the right direction.

 

 

Ashley Madison Hackers Post the Site’s User Data

Ashley Madison homepage (Ashley Madison)

Ashley Madison homepage (Ashley Madison)

Happy Friday! Remember when cheating site Ashley Madison was hacked last month? And how the hackers threatened to release user data to the whole Internet?

Well, they’ve finally done it. The Impact Team, as the group of hackers is known, put the data online on the Dark Web, which can only be reached using specialized equipment. They dumped a jaw-dropping 9.7 GigaBytes (GBs) of data that went back to 2008.

(For context/scale, I have a 4 TeraByte (TB) external hard drive that I keep old school projects and work on. I’ve had that thing for over 6 years, and still haven’t filled it up. One TB is equal to .001 GBs. So you can imagine how voluminous this data breach truly is.)

There seems to be some disagreement over exactly how many users had data leaked. “CNN Money” claims 32M, while “Wired” and “Engadget” put the number closer to 37M.

As of July, Ashley Madison claimed to have 40M+ users.

Ashley Madison data dump (Gizmodo)

Ashley Madison data dump (Gizmodo)

Among the metrics leaked were users’  names, addresses and phone numbers. “Wired” looked into some initial data analysis:

A sampling of the data indicates that users likely provided random numbers and addresses, but files containing credit card transactions will yield real names and addresses, unless members of the site used anonymous pre-paid cards. One analysis of email addresses found in the data dump also shows that some 15,000 are .mil. or .gov addresses.

Passwords were broken by “hashing,” or breaking into the algorithm a site would use to protect passwords. The hackers used the “bcrypt” algorithm used in web development language PHP. This is usually a secure measure to protect passwords. But hey, at least Ashley Madison tried:

It’s notable, however, that the cheating site, in using the secure hashing algorithm, surpassed many other victims of breaches we’ve seen over the years who never bothered to encrypt customer passwords.

Have a great weekend, and go change your passwords!

The New Abercrombie & Fitch Will Feature Less Sex (NSFW)

'A&F Quarterly' Spring Break Issue 2001 (Kline Books)

‘A&F Quarterly’ Spring Break Issue 2001 (Kline Books)

Happy Friday! If you’re in your mid-20s or older, you probably remember (and hell, wore) some Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) back in the day. The stylishly distressed, yet massively overpriced, clothes were a status signifier back in middle and high school, when everyone wanted to be part of the cool crowd (which was comprised solely of all-American, apple-cheeked near-Aryans). And of course, who can forget those sex-drenched ads and catalogs?

The A&F of yore will now be changing that particular aspect. According to “The Washington Post,” the chain will no longer hire “models” (their term for sales associates) based on “body type or physical attractiveness.” They’ll also phase out the “sexualized marketing” (suggestive ads, shirtless models at storefront openings) by July.

This all comes as A&F tries to revamp its image, and project a more inclusive one. Former CEO Mike Jeffries was known for promoting the brand as exclusionary to everyone but his coveted “cool crowds,” and didn’t offer larger sizes. He stepped down from his post last December. The move came amid reports that the retailer’s shares have decreased 39% over the past year, and profits shrunk 5%+ last year.

It’ll be interesting to see if A&F can actually pull off this drastic brand reinvention, and if consumers will respond to it.

Why is Argentina Battling a Tampon Shortage?

o.b. Tampons (Jezebel)

o.b. Tampons (Jezebel)

“The Cut” recently reported that Argentina is currently experiencing a woman’s worst nightmare: a tampon shortage.

According to the Associated Press, the shortage has been going on for over two weeks. The problem stems from an impasse between importers and the government. Businesses think the Argentinean government has been slow in issuing permits for imports (Argentina imports most of its tampons from nearby Brazil), while the government feels that businesses are driving up the prices to increase profits.

A spokesman for Johnson & Johnson claims that only the most popular tampon brands and quantities are affected by the shortage.

The situation isn’t uncommon for the country. Argentina periodically has experienced shortages of medical supplies such as needles and latex gloves.

The U.S. experienced a similar situation form 2009 to 2011. Johnson & Johnson took o.b. tampons off shelves in 2009, citing a “temporary supply interruption.”  The tampons are beloved for not having an applicator and for being environmentally-friendly. The supply shortage emptied drugstore shelves and drove demand up to $99 a box on eBay. The o.b. black market ended when stores began to restock the popular tampon.

No explanation was ever given for the shortage.