Must Read Money Stories, Monday Nov. 24

by November 24, 2014

MRMS logoMarketing Katniss on a relative shoestring. The New York Times reports that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 sold an estimated $123 million in tickets this weekend. That was the strongest movie opening since last November, when another Hunger Games film, Catching Fire, took in $158 million in its debut weekend. Hunger Games is produced by Lions Gate Entertainment, which spent $50 million to market the latest film. That’s half what a major Hollywood studio normally spends to launch a blockbuster. Just 27 people work in marketing at Lionsgate, compared with hundreds for the big players. It relies heavily on social media and of course, the deep loyalty fans have for the franchise.

America is exploding in diversity. The Brookings Institute says minority populations in the United States have mushroomed since 1970, and the shift is causing tremendous changes in the way the country looks. Minorities, from African-Americans to Latinos to Asians and other ethnic groups, are overrepresented (meaning at least the national average) along the country’s coastlines and its border with Mexico. Here’s how the country looked in 2010, the latest year for which data is available.

Map courtesy of The Brookings Institute

Map courtesy of The Brookings Institute

Montreal’s lively restaurant scene is cooling. One of the biggest food stories of the past decade is the development of Montreal’s restaurant scene. It has the largest number of restaurants per capita of major North American cities, and the number of seats at restaurant tables grew 31 percent from 2005 to 2012, according to the Association du Restaurateurs du Quebec. But the Montreal Gazette reports a number of places are closing, and the money that diners are spending has fallen 4.2 percent from last year. “People have less cash to spend and more places to spend it. Competition is fierce,” says the paper.

Kendall, Estee Lauder and social media. The venerable cosmetics company Estee Lauder raised some fashionista eyebrows last week when it named Kendall (Jenner) as the newest face of its makeup line. Was it stunt casting of one of the stars of Keeping Up With The Kardashians? No, it was the 19-year-old’s social media power, the Times says. She has 16 million followers on Instagram, 8.1 million on Twitter and nearly 8 million “likes’ on Facebook. “I think what’s so exciting about her is that she has this social media influence along with a fashion credibility in a distinct way that speaks to millennials,” said Jane Hertzmark Hudis, the global brand president of Estée Lauder. “There is really no one else like her out there.”