Business

‘Mean Girls’ Musical Triumphs at Box Office, With a TikTok Assist
Business

‘Mean Girls’ Musical Triumphs at Box Office, With a TikTok Assist

The theatrical box office this holiday weekend was awash in “Mean Girls,” and TikTok may have been at least partly responsible for its domination.The new PG-13 rated film, a musical rendition of the 2004 original starring Lindsay Lohan, with songs that turned the 2018 Broadway adaptation (and two national tours) into a resounding hit, grossed $28 million over the holiday weekend. The movie landed in first place, beating the Jason Statham action film “The Beekeeper,” which earned $16.8 million. (Paramount Pictures expects “Mean Girls” to reach $32 million once receipts from the federal holiday on Monday in observance of Martin Luther King’s Birthday are added.)The news was a welcome reprieve for the theatrical box office, which did not benefit from a giant year-end blockbuster that often ca...
Supreme Court to Hear Starbucks Bid to Overturn Labor Ruling
Business

Supreme Court to Hear Starbucks Bid to Overturn Labor Ruling

The Supreme Court agreed on Friday to hear a case brought by Starbucks challenging a federal judge’s order to reinstate seven employees who were fired at a store in Memphis amid a union campaign there.Starbucks argued that the criteria for such intervention by judges in labor cases, which can also include measures like reopening shuttered stores, vary across regions of the country because federal appeals courts may adhere to different standards.A regional director for the National Labor Relations Board, the company’s opponent in the case, argued that the apparent differences in criteria among appeals courts were semantic rather than substantive, and that a single effective standard was already in place nationwide.The labor board had urged the Supreme Court to stay out of the case, whose ou...
New York Food Delivery Workers, Overlooked in Life, Are Honored in Death
Business

New York Food Delivery Workers, Overlooked in Life, Are Honored in Death

After the brass band packed up its instruments, Sergio Solano and two other food delivery workers walked a white bicycle to an overpass within view of the United Nations headquarters.A fellow worker, or compañero, as they call each other meaning “partner,” had died less than two weeks earlier that September in yet another bicycle wreck on the streets of Manhattan. Delivering food has proved to be a deadly occupation for many of them. Riding bikes at all hours, they get hit by cars, are at constant risk of having accidents and fall prey to crime.The spray-painted bicycle paid homage to Félix Patricio Teófilo, a Mexican immigrant who, like them, made his living pedalling to deliver food. They chained it to the metal railing near the intersection of 47th Street and First Avenue, where he met ...
World Bank Warns of Energy Price Surge if Mideast War Spreads
Business

World Bank Warns of Energy Price Surge if Mideast War Spreads

The global economy is at risk of a “wasted” decade and the weakest stretch of growth in 30 years, the World Bank warned on Tuesday, saying a sluggish recovery from the pandemic and crippling wars in Ukraine and the Middle East are expected to weigh heavily on output.In its semiannual Global Economic Prospects report, the World Bank projected that the growth in world output will slow further in 2024, declining to 2.4 percent from 2.6 percent. Although the global economy has been surprisingly resilient, the report warned that its forecasts were subject to heightened uncertainty because of the two wars, a diminished Chinese economy and the increasing risks of natural disasters caused by global warming.The converging crises in recent years have put the world economy on track for the weakest ha...
Boeing’s 737 Max 9 and the Alaska Airline Grounding: What to Know
Business

Boeing’s 737 Max 9 and the Alaska Airline Grounding: What to Know

An emergency landing on Friday of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 jet in Portland, Ore., led the Federal Aviation Administration to order some U.S. airlines to stop using some Max 9 planes until they are inspected. The order affects about 171 planes owned by Alaska, United and other airlines. The episode also raised troubling new questions about the safety of a workhorse aircraft design dogged by years of problems and multiple deadly crashes.No one was seriously injured in Friday’s incident. The jetliner returned to the airport in Portland shortly after a chunk of the body of the plane broke off in midair, leaving a door-size hole in the side of the aircraft.Within hours of the episode, Alaska Airlines said it would ground all 65 of the Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft in its fleet until mech...
U.S. Added 216,000 Jobs in December, Outpacing Forecasts
Business

U.S. Added 216,000 Jobs in December, Outpacing Forecasts

The U.S. labor market ended 2023 with a bang, gaining more jobs than experts had expected and buoying hopes that the economy can settle into a solid, sustainable level of growth rather than fall into a recession.Employers added 216,000 jobs in December on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Labor Department reported on Friday. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7 percent.Although hiring has slowed in recent months, layoffs remain near record lows. The durability of both hiring and wage gains is all the more remarkable in light of the Federal Reserve’s aggressive series of interest rate increases in the past couple of years. But a range of analysts warns that the coast is not yet clear and says the effects of those higher rates will take time to filter through business activity.“The real...
Happy Puppies and Silly Geese: Pushing the Limits of A.I. Absurdity
Business

Happy Puppies and Silly Geese: Pushing the Limits of A.I. Absurdity

What is the happiest dog you can imagine? Is it beaming with joy on a celestial plane or frolicking in a field of psychedelic flora?If those images are hard to conjure, have no fear, or perhaps a healthy dose of it: Artificial intelligence can vivify even the most absurd scenarios in vibrant color, and on social media, some are seeing how far it can be pushed.Though A.I.-generated images can often unsettle with their uncanny realism — think the pope in a Balenciaga puffer jacket — many are finding joy in a new form of low-stakes image tinkering. This fall, ChatGPT released an update that allowed people to enter prompts for more detailed images than before, and it wasn’t long before some began to push the chatbot to its limits.In November, Garrett Scott McCurrach, the chief executive of Pip...
Price Increases Cooled in November as Inflation Falls Toward Fed Target
Business

Price Increases Cooled in November as Inflation Falls Toward Fed Target

A closely watched measure of inflation cooled notably in November, good news for the Federal Reserve as officials move toward the next phase in their fight against rapid price increases and a positive for the White House as voters see relief from rising costs.The Personal Consumption Expenditures inflation measure, which the Fed cites when it says it aims for 2 percent inflation on average over time, climbed 2.6 percent in the year through November. That was down from 2.9 percent the previous month, and was less than what economists had forecast. Compared with the previous month, prices overall even fell slightly for the first time in years.That decline — a 0.1 percent drop, and the first negative reading since April 2020 — came as gas prices dropped. After volatile food and fuel prices we...
2024 M&A Outlook After a Rough Year for Deal Makers
Business

2024 M&A Outlook After a Rough Year for Deal Makers

For deal makers, 2024 is a year to look forward to, if only because 2023 wasn’t necessarily one to celebrate.Despite some notable transactions, the year presented challenges to the bankers and lawyers who advise corporate clients on big takeovers and initial public offerings.Global M.&A. fell to a 10-year low. About 53,529 deals worth a combined $2.9 trillion were announced, down 17 percent annually by volume, according to data from L.S.E.G.The busiest sectors included energy — led by Exxon Mobil’s takeover of Pioneer Natural Resources and Chevron’s acquisition of Hess — and health care, which was topped by Pfizer’s purchase of the cancer drug maker Seagen.The story was worse for I.P.O.s, which tumbled 25 percent year-on-year to a combined $109.8 billion in proceeds, a 14-year low. Tha...
Red Sea Shipping Halt Is Latest Risk to Global Economy
Business

Red Sea Shipping Halt Is Latest Risk to Global Economy

The attacks on crucial shipping traffic in the Red Sea straits by a determined band of militants in Yemen — a spillover from the Israeli-Hamas war in Gaza — are injecting a new dose of instability into a world economy already struggling with mounting geopolitical tensions.The risk of escalating conflict in the Middle East is the latest in a string of unpredictable crises, including the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, that have landed like swipes of a bear claw on the global economy, smacking it off course and leaving scars.As if that weren’t enough, more volatility lies ahead in the form of a wave of national elections whose repercussions could be deep and long. More than two billion people in roughly 50 countries, including India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, the United Stat...