🥱 Disney’s Star Wars problem

The Hustle

NordPass, a password management app, recently revealed research on the most commonly used passwords, and found the winner (or loser) to be “123456,” which had been used 103,170,552 times. Other high-ranking options include “123456789,” “password,” and “qwerty.”

Today’s rundown:

  • Superhero fatigue: Disney has dozens of Star Wars and Marvel projects lined up. Do we still want to see them?
  • Making green by going green: The startups raising millions to get rid of single-use plastics.
  • The week in digits: Black Friday, Uncrustables, and rare coins.
  • Around the web: Encrypted emojis, bird migrations, and more internet finds.

Let’s do it.

The Big Idea
Mickey Mouse waving a wand

Is Disney creating too much Marvel and Star Wars content?

Disney is known as “The House of Mouse.”

But, in recent years, the engine behind the $269B entertainment giant has been superheroes and Jedis.

Marvel and Star Wars films under the Disney brand have pulled in ~$34B at the box office, per The Wall Street Journal.

And more is yet to come

Like your 4th serving of mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving, Disney wants to stuff your face with content:

  • Star Wars has at least 16 film/TV projects in the pipeline including a new trilogy and spinoffs for popular characters like Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe recently released its 26th film (Eternals) and premiered its 5th TV series (Hawkeye) last week. There are 20+ projects planned over the next 2 years.

Disney acquired Marvel in 2009 for $4B…

… and Lucasfilm (owner of Star Wars) in 2012 for $4B. It’s recouped these investments many times over, but the quality bar may be slipping.

While Disney scored a big hit with The Mandalorian TV series in 2019, there have been notable misses.

The most recent Star Wars film — 2019’s The Rise of Skywalker — has the 2nd-worst Rotten Tomatoes score for the series, while Eternals has the worst Marvel Disney film rating ever.

This content is crucial for Disney+

Disney’s streaming service currently has 118m+ paying subscribers, with plans to hit 260m by end-2024, per WSJ.

In comparison, Netflix is projected to have ~300m (that’s a lot of people “chilling”). Unlike Disney — which has to stay somewhat family-friendly — Netflix can be more adventurous with its projects (think Squid Game).

That’s a big advantage that no amount of Spider-Man and Darth Vader can fix.

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SNIPPETS

Prime tea and crumpets: Amazon revealed plans to open 260 grocery stores in the UK by 2025, a direct threat to local chains Tesco and Sainsbury’s. #ecommerce-retail

5G problems: AT&T and Verizon agreed to limit the strength of their 5G networks until regulators fully understand the technology’s impact on air traffic. #clean-energy

Coming soon: Apple delayed the launch of its digital ID feature, which lets users add their driver’s licenses to their phone, until early 2022. #emerging-tech

Crypto kicks: 17 of 20 Premier league teams have struck deals with crypto companies, and the league is now facing scrutiny amid fears of fraud. #fintech-crypto

Voice over text: A report discovered 50% of Facebook Messenger’s total voice traffic comes from Cambodia, whose residents prefer voice notes because typing the Khmer language is difficult. #big-tech

MFM: Shaan explains the benefits of an “early adopter” mindset. #mfm

Delivery Tech
plastics

These startups offer alternatives to single-use plastics

Between 4.8m and 12.7m metric tons of plastic winds up in the ocean every year.

Much of this waste comes from single-use plastics, like disposable straws, food containers, and grocery bags — which is why some startups are rethinking how we do takeout and delivery.

In France, most employers…

…are required to provide employees with either an on-site subsidized canteen or meal vouchers for lunch.

Pyxo has raised $7m+ to provide sustainable containers for canteen startups — like Foodles and Popchef — and restaurants, per TechCrunch.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Food companies and restaurants purchase containers from Pyxo
  2. Containers are tracked with QR codes and near-field communication (NFC) chips
  3. Cleaning companies pick up dirty containers and drop off fresh ones

Customers who get takeout in Pyxo’s containers can use an app to find nearby drop-off spots. Pyxo may soon offer rewards to incentivize this behavior.

Who else is in this game?

DeliverZero is a delivery startup that serves ~135 restaurants in NYC. Customers order food online, and restaurants pack it up in DeliverZero’s reusable containers.

Customers can return containers to the courier the next time they order takeout or to any DeliverZero restaurant, but are charged $3.25 per unreturned container.

Dispatch Goods in San Francisco has placed its stainless steel containers in ~50 restaurants, per The Guardian. Customers receive delivery orders in the tins, then Dispatch Goods picks them up later.

BTW: If you’ve ever wondered how to get plastic out of the ocean (other than not putting it in there in the 1st place), check out these machines.

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Digits
Uncrustables

Half-a-billion dollars sold! (Source: Food Dive / Smucker’s)

By the numbers: Black Friday, Uncrustables, and rare coins

1) Seems like the days of trampling random 5-year-olds to get your hands on an Xbox may be moving behind us. In-store traffic at retail stores on Black Friday was down 28.3% from 2019 levels.

2) Prices for Christmas trees will be around 10%-30% higher than usual this year. A little over 10 years ago, during the recession, struggling Christmass tree farms reduced plantings — and now, years later, we have fewer Christmas trees.

3) Unbelievable. Unstoppable. Uncrustables. Smucker’s Uncrustables absolutely crust it this past year, selling ~$500m of their crustless sandwiches. The company forecasts $1B in annual Uncrustables net sales within the next 5 years.

4) Prefab is looking fab. After shipments of manufactured homes dipped throughout the 2000s, numbers are on their way back up. There were at least 104k manufactured houses shipped so far this year, with an average cost of $87k.

5) A rare Colonial New England coin minted in 1652 and recently discovered in a candy tin sold for $350k+ at an auction this past weekend. The coin’s owner is a descendant of William Wentworth, an early settler of New England.

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AROUND THE WEB

🐈 On this day: In 1935, physicist Erwin Schrödinger published his thought experiment about a fictional cat in a box who is dead, alive, or… both?

😄 Cure boredom: Cryptoji is a website that lets you create emoji messages that your friends can “decrypt” with a secret key.

🦆 That’s cool: This interactive map visualizes the migration patterns of various bird species.

😣 How to: There’s regular burnout. Then there’s holiday burnout, which, according to one expert, can manifest during the “most guilt-ridden, nightmare time of the year.” Here are some tips to beat it.

⚰️ That’s interesting: Mic attended the National Funeral Directors Association’s annual expo in Nashville and found an industry in flux — and it’s a fascinating read.

☀️ Wow: Seán Doran stitched together 78k+ frames of the sun from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory to make this stunning time-lapse. The movement you see comes from the sun’s coronal loops.

Meme of the day
Marvel Meme

Astounding range (Source: Facebook / Marvel Memes)

The Hustle Recommends

Watch: The Smash Brothers

The easiest way to describe this documentary series is a 30 for 30 for a quirky Nintendo 64 video game. It’s insanely entertaining, and keeps you questioning whether the cast of characters are idiots or savants.

-Rob

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In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

Data shows where markets are headed.

And that’s why we built Trends — to show you up-and-coming market opportunities about to explode. Interested?

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