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Happy Friday!

Good morning. With Barbenheimer, the first USA game at the Women’s World Cup, and Messi’s potential debut in Miami…we’ve got ourselves a freakishly good Friday.

But if you want to feel productive as the week ticks to a close, I’m sure all this rain has inadvertently made the grass grow. You could always go mow!


Barbenheimer is counterprogramming at its finest

Masculine leg in business suit in pink high heel over sky background.

Alyssa Nassner

Wake up, consumers: It’s Barbenheimer weekend. Today marks the theatrical release of two movies that will forever be associated with each other despite having nothing in common: Greta Gerwig’s pink parade of Barbie and Christopher Nolan’s devastating biopic about the man who created a potentially world-ending bomb, Oppenheimer. And viewers have never been more amped to have whiplash.

The same-day releases from these beloved directors have created an internet meme-storm of poster mashupsmerch, and a new question to judge everyone’s tastes by: “What’s the correct order to see Barbenheimer?” We’ll take an exit poll of the 40,000+ members of the AMC Stubs program who have tickets to see both movies on the same day.

Opposites attract bigger audiences

Barbenheimer takes a page out of the well-worn Hollywood playbook known as counterprogramming, in which very different films are released on the same day to attract wider audiences. In the past, theaters have typically offered a movie for dads to enjoy while their kids watch cartoons or played a light rom-com in the theater next to a screen showing a psycho killer stalking teens.

Some examples:

  • This same July weekend 15 years ago, Christopher Nolan was a part of another famous double bill (the Dark Mamma) when his The Dark Knight and Mamma Mia! hit theaters on the same day. Both movies got butts in seats on opening weekend, though Heath Ledger’s legendary Joker performance brought in $158 million compared to the ABBA musical’s $27.7 million.
  • Sometimes, the singing hits the right notes. Pitch Perfect 2 and Mad Max: Fury Road opened the same weekend in May 2015, and the a cappella romp scored $69.2 million vs. $45.4 million for the apocalyptic hellscape tale.

Bottom line: Counterprogramming done right can benefit both movies, giving each more visibility than it would have gotten entering the box office solo. We’ll see if that plays out this weekend. Analysts expect Margot Robbie and all her dolls to bring in $90 million–$115 million. Nolan and the bomb squad are looking at ticket sales closer to $60 million. Anything at the top end of those ranges would be a relief to movie theaters that have been eerily quiet this summer.—MM


It’s recharge season


Ahh, summer. A time of sun, fun, and…fatigue? Sweaty days are here to stay for the time being, so that means staying on top of your electrolytes game is essential. And that goes for aspiring all-star athletes and daily commuters alike.

Here’s how to do it: Get LMNT, a tasty electrolyte drink mix that helps replace vital electrolytes without the sugar and dodgy ingredients. This stuff’s the real deal. No sugar. No coloring. No artificial ingredients. No gluten. No fillers. No junk, period.

Even better? For a limited time, you can get a free 8-count LMNT sample pack with any purchase. That’s right—all the flavors (like the superrr-refreshing Watermelon) for free.

Recover like a champ.


Tour de headlines

Team co-owner Dan Snyder speaks during the announcement of the Washington Football Team's name change to the Washington Commanders at FedExField on February 02, 2022 in Landover, Maryland

Rob Carr/Getty Images

 The Dan Snyder era is over in DC. NFL owners approved the sale of the Washington Commanders to private equity investor Josh Harris, bringing Dan Snyder’s turbulent and controversial 20+ years at the helm to a close. The team’s price of $6.05 billion is a record for an NFL franchise, but Snyder will have to give up some of his windfall right away. The league fined him $60 million following an investigation that found he sexually harassed a former employee and that the Commanders withheld revenue from other NFL teams.

 Car thefts up, violent crimes down in US cities. Motor vehicle thefts in 32 large US cities jumped 34% in the first six months of 2023 from the same period last year and are 104% higher than early 2019 levels, per a report from the Council on Criminal Justice. The think tank attributed much of the increase to a surge in thefts of certain Kia and Hyundai models after a TikTok challenge exposed how easy it was to steal them. Meanwhile, homicides are down 9.4% across 30 large cities in the first six months of the year.

 Air travel could get more tolerable. In bipartisan fashion, the House passed a bill that aims to alleviate the worker shortage that’s been plaguing the airline industry. The legislation is broadly about reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration for the next five years, but it also includes measures that would raise the retirement age for pilots from 65 to 67 and boost the recruitment and training of other airline industry employees, especially those critical air-traffic controllers. Passengers could use some help: Just this week, a full Delta plane reportedly sat on the tarmac in sweltering Las Vegas for four hours with no air conditioning.


Grain prices rise after Russia targets Ukraine exports

Cargo ships exporting grain from Ukraine are no longer safe in the Black Sea

Getty / Anadolu Agency

Russia has been attacking Ukraine’s port cities all week after pulling out of a yearlong agreement that allowed cargo ships to safely haul grain from Ukraine through the Black Sea.

Ukraine is a major global provider of wheat, corn, and oilseeds—especially to countries in Africa and the Middle East—so grain prices have risen considerably over concerns of possible shortages.

  • Russia exited the UN-brokered Black Sea Grain Initiative on Monday, but it wasn’t until Wednesday—when Russia said it might treat any Ukraine-bound cargo ship as hostile—that wheat prices spiked by 8.5%. That was the largest daily increase since Russia invaded in February 2022.
  • Since pulling out of the deal, Russia has targeted two of Ukraine’s seaports and reportedly laid mines along the coast. Nightly missile and drone attacks have killed and wounded civilians, destroyed agricultural infrastructure, and burned enough grain to feed more than 270,000 people for a year, according to the World Food Program.

What now? Ukraine can still ship grain through the EU via road and rail, which is why traders say they don’t think there will be a global grain shortage. But these routes are more expensive, and the nations that rely on Ukrainian grain might turn instead to Russia, the world’s top wheat exporter.—ML


Skims soars to a $4 billion valuation

Kim Kardashian visits the Skims Summer Pop-Up Shop in the Channel Gardens at Rockefeller Center on May 16, 2023

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for SKIMS

Bet Ryan Seacrest didn’t see this coming when he decided to produce Keeping Up With The Kardashians in 2007.

Skims, the shapewear and intimates brand founded by Kim Kardashian, reached a $4 billion valuation this week, according to the New York Times. Now worth more than twice Victoria’s Secret (shhh), Skims is getting ready for its call-up to the big leagues: an IPO.

  • Wellington Management, which led Skims’s latest funding round, famously works with companies before they go public.
  • The company is expecting $750 million in sales this year, and is planning on extending into men’s clothing and opening physical stores, CEO Jens Grede told the New York Times.

After the latest funding round, Kim can finally afford that yoga membership. The new valuation (up from $3.2 billion in January) adds an estimated $500 million to her nearly $2 billion fortune, per Forbes’s calculations, which she’s amassed from her various businesses, including Skims and the skincare line Skkn.

Essential shapewear: Skims undergarments are not only for accentuating your curves. One woman credited her bodysuit from the brand with keeping her from bleeding out after being shot four times.—CC


Key performance indicators

A striking writer

Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

Stat: It’s a hot strike summer. In a wave of strike activity the US hasn’t seen since the 1970s, more than 650,000 American workers are either planning to walk off the job or have already done so, according to Bloomberg. Not only are more than 100,000 Hollywood actors and writers on strike, but 340,000 UPS workers and employees at Detroit’s Big Three automakers could also hit the picket line next month.

Quote: “I honestly had no expectations, so this is more than fair for me.”

The mother of eight-year-old Olivia Caraballo seemed pleased with a jury’s decision to award her daughter $800,000 over a scorching McNugget injury. In 2019, when Olivia was four, she was burned when a “dangerously hot” McNugget fell on her leg in the drive-thru lane at a South Florida McDonald’s, and her family sued for $15 million in damages. A jury found McDonald’s and its franchise were liable for Olivia’s injury, but thought $800k was the proper restitution for a nugget burn.

Read: Gen Zers are freezing their eggs. Why? (Vice)



New Friday quiz image

The feeling of getting a 5/5 on the Brew’s Weekly News Quiz has been compared to typing in the right password for a doctor’s office portal you made three years ago.

It’s that satisfying. Ace the quiz.


What else is brewing

  • Blackstone became the first private equity firm to manage $1 trillion in assets.
  • The Fed officially launched its instant payments system, FedNow. We previously wrote about what it means for you.
  • Iraq and Sweden are locked in an escalating geopolitical dispute over the recent burning of a Quran in Stockholm.
  • Domino’s cheapest pizza in the world costs 60 cents in Delhi, India.
  • Animals on the loose: A suspected lioness was spotted hunting a boar in Berlin, sparking a massive police search. Meanwhile, a surfboard-hijacking otter is successfully eluding authorities in the Bay Area.


Friday to-do list

 Presidential tunes: Former President Obama released his summer 2023 playlist.

 Gift-giving tips: What to get a cancer patient, according to Hank Green. (YouTube)

 Mind-blowing Wikipedia article: timeline of the far future.

  DIY cocktails: Memorize these simple ratios to make summer cocktails at home without measuring anything.

 Reconsider the return: Planning to bring employees back to the office? HR Brew explains what to consider before mandating RTO. Check it out.


 Centralize it: If you missed the memo, Workiva held a webinar on what happens when you centralize financial reporting, ESG, and GRC. (Spoiler alert: It’s big-time ROI.) Watch now.*



The puzzle section

Picdoku: This puzzle is a sudoku, but instead of placing numbers in squares, you’ll place summer-themed emoji in squares. Join the fun here.

Friday puzzle

A customer service center received this letter. Can you figure out what the problem is?

Da S /Madam,

’d lk cmlan ab h f m kbad.

hs ls a n kng ccl.

As ma b abl ll, hs ls a mssng fm hs dcmn.

’d b xml gafl f cld fx hs blm.

Knd gads,



Don’t dread data

 Did you know that 71% of Americans oppose AI making the judgment call on whether they get a job? Dig into the stats here.

 Join Tech Brew on July 25 to learn how to take your product idea from inception to launch. Sign up now.

 Ready to be a retail superstar? Watch this virtual event with Katie Mullen from JCPenney and find out how to create a VIP customer journey.


This person (Michael) can’t get the top row of his keyboard to work. If it were working, the full letter would read:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I’d like to complain about the top row of my keyboard.

These letters are not working correctly.

As you may be able to tell, these letters are missing from this document.

I’d be extremely grateful if you could fix this problem.

Kind regards,


(Source: Puzzle a Day)

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