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Warner Bros unveils the first trailers for ‘Aquaman’ and ‘Shazam’

Today at Comic-Con, Warner Bros . gave fans a peek at the first DC Comics films post-Justice League.

Warner Bros. and DC had a bumpy 2017. There was the astonishing critical and commercial success of Wonder Woman, followed by the box office disappointment of Justice League — leading to an executive shakeup and a general rethinking of its movie strategy.

Will Aquaman, which stars Jason Momoa as the titular superhero and is due out on December 21, turn things around? Director James Wan told the Comic-Con audience that his goal is to create a movie that “plays more like a science-fiction fantasy film than a traditional super hero movie.”

Wan (who’s best-known for horror titles like Saw and The Conjuring but also directed Furious 7) previously said there’s been a long wait for the trailer because he wanted to ensure the visual effects were ready — and after watching this footage, you can see what he was talking about.

The trailer does spend some time establishing the relationships between Aquaman, his love interest Mera (Amber Heard), his mother Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) and his half-brother/rival Orm (Patrick Wilson). My real takeaway, though, is that this is going to be a spectacular, effects-filled movie with plenty of undersea action.

Then there’s Shazam!, which looks like it could be DC’s first outright comedy.

With the film’s release date (April 5, 2019) still nearly a year away, this trailer seems to focus on a few key scenes setting up the premise, with young Billy Batson (Asher Angel) gifted by a mysterious stranger with the ability to turn into a big red superhero (Zachary Levi) by just calling out the word “Shazam!” (The character was originally known as Captain Marvel, but I assume that they’ll stick with the Shazam name in the movie.)

Like Wan, director David F. Sandberg has previously helmed horror movies (specifically Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation), but the trailer makes it clear that he’s taking a light-hearted approach to the material. Despite his appearance as an invulnerable superhero, this version of Shazam is still a goofy kid.

And if you were hoping for a glimpse at Wonder Woman 1984, it sounds like the filmmakers did show off footage at Comic-Con, but they don’t have a polished trailer yet to put online.

Director Patty Jenkins said she looks

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Weekly Roundup July 21

Jeff Bezos’ aerospace company, Blue Origin, performed its most critical test to date, Prime Day had some ups and downs but ultimately broke records and major tech companies are uniting to help you move data across apps.

Here’s your weekly roundup of the top stories from the tech world: 

1. Blue Origin successfully lands both booster and crew capsule after test launch

Blue Origin crossed a major milestone on Wednesday as it successfully executed a live separation test. This sent the rocket’s crew capsule higher than it’s ever gone before, while the rocket’s booster coasted back down to earth unscathed. The critical achievement marks a big win for Jeff Bezos’ company and the prospect of commercial space flights.

2. What Amazon lost (and made) on Prime Day 

Widespread glitches on Amazon’s site during the first two hours of Prime Day are estimated to have cost the e-commerce giant $1.2 million per minute. The total loss is difficult to nail down, in part because the exact span of the outage varied; however, multiple reports put the loss in the $90 million range. And yet, these setbacks didn’t dampen the day. Prime Day broke a number of records, making it the biggest sales day in Amazon history, beating out Cyber Monday, Black Friday and the previous Prime Day in 2017.

3. Google gets slapped with $5 billion EU fine for Android antitrust abuse

Google has been fined a record-breaking €4.34 billion (~$5 billion) by European antitrust regulators for abusing the dominance of its Android mobile operating system. The European Commission is arguing the tech giant dominates markets for general internet search services, licensable smart mobile operating systems and app stores for the Android mobile operating system. Google responded stating it will appeal the fine and argued Android brings more choice to the market, not less.

4. Living with the new 15-inch MacBook Pro 

After spending some

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Now is the time for Walmart to strike at Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime has been an enormous influence on e-commerce, but this online juggernaut is beginning to show cracks. Now is the time for arch-rival Walmart to swoop in with a Prime-like offering that strikes at the weaknesses Amazon has introduced into its formidable loyalty program: price, a lack of focus, and competing subscription services.

Here’s the problem. Amazon has invested in its Prime program continuously, adding feature after feature in an obvious bid to make the service appear as valuable as possible. But while these additions are superfluous to many a user’s needs, everyone pays for them whether they’re used or not.

That’s part of the strategy, of course — if you know your customer won’t stop paying for a subscription, you can use that to squeeze the life out of other subscriptions they might pay for, and redirect that money to yourself. Prime Video and Music, for example, are clearly meant to take the place of Netflix or HBO and Spotify or Apple Music. Why pay for two? And if you have to choose, well, it’s easier to quit HBO than Prime.

This only goes so far, though. For years users have been subject to these pressures, watching the price of Prime rise all the while, and meanwhile other services are getting better and better. Streaming services and exclusive content have multiplied, and Prime users are frequently left out in the cold.

Photo storage? Isn’t that free everywhere? Twitch Prime? Is that really useful for millions of working families? Prime Originals? Not exactly raking in the Emmys. But still… it’s Prime. It’s necessary.

The only one who can realistically break this deadlock is Walmart. Not by providing the same thing as Amazon, but by providing something simpler and more focused, taking over the workhorse duties of Prime (shipping, sales, some basic media of opportunity) at a much lower price, granting the customer freedom to pursue their own choice in subscriptions while not meaningfully affecting their online retail experience.

What would this Walmart offering consist of? They already offer free shipping on a lot of items, free store pickup, and so on. You don’t need to use your imagination here. What would make this better? Free 2-day shipping on all items with no minimum amount; grocery and secure package delivery; a set of basic TV and music streams or even just a partnership with a couple existing products;

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While tech waffles on going public biotech IPOs boom

For people who make investment decisions based on revenues and projected earnings, biotech IPOs are kind of a non-starter. Not only are new market entrants universally unprofitable, most have zero revenue. Going public is mostly a means to raise money for clinical trials, with red ink expected for years to come.

That pattern may be one reason the venture capital press, Crunchbase News included, tends to devote a disproportionately small portion of coverage to biotech IPOs. It’s more exciting to watch a big-name internet company pop in first-day trading or poke fun at an underperforming dud.

But with our fixation on all things tech, we’re missing out on the big picture. There are actually a lot more biotech and healthcare startup IPOs than tech offerings. In the second quarter of this year, for instance, at least 16 U.S. venture-backed biotech and healthcare companies went public, compared to just 11 tech startups. In three of the past four years, bio offerings outnumbered tech IPOs, according to Crunchbase data.

In the following analysis, we attempt to get up to speed on the pace of biotech offerings, assess where we are in the cycle and spotlight some of the rising stars.

Biotech outpaces tech

As mentioned above, U.S. bio IPOs outnumber tech offerings in most years. However, the bio cohort raises less total capital, partly because the largest technology IPOs tend to be much bigger than the largest bio IPOs. In the chart below, we compare the two sectors over the past four years.

Globally, the numbers are much higher. Using Crunchbase data, we’ve put together a chart looking at global VC-backed biotech and healthcare IPOs over the past four years. While we’re just over halfway through 2018, biotech and health IPOs have already raised more money than in any of the prior three full calendar years.

Fundamentals driven, cycle amplified

It’s pretty clear we’re in an upcycle for all things startup-related. VCs are flush with cash, late-stage rounds are ballooning in size and IPO and M&A action is picking up, too.

So what does that mean for bio IPOs? Is the uptick in the pace and size of offerings mostly

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With its goofy video loops YC backed Splish wants to be the ‘anti-Instagram’

Is there any space on kids’ homescreens for another social sharing app to poke in? Y Combinator backed Splish wants to have a splash at it (😊) — with a super-short-form video and photo sharing app aimed at the under-25s.

The SF-based startup began bootstrapping out of their college dorm rooms last July, playing around with app ideas before settling on goofy video loops to be their social sharing steed of choice.

The Splish app pops content into video loops of between 1-5 seconds. Photos can be uploaded too but motion must be added in the form of an animated effect of your choice. So basically nothing on Splish stays still. (Hence its watery name.) But while wobbly, content on Splish is intended to stick around — rather than ephemerally pass away (a la snaps).

Here are a few examples of Splishes (embedded below as GIFs… but you can see them on its platform here, here and here):

 

It’s the first startup for the four college buddy co-founders: Drake Rehfeld, Alex Pareto, Jackson Berry and Zac Denham, though between them they’ve also clocked up engineering hours working for Snapchat, Facebook and Team 10.

Their initial web product went up in March and they landed a place on YC’s program at the start of May —  when they also released their iOS app. An Android app is pending, and they’ll be on the hunt for funding come YC demo day.

The gap in the social sharing market this young team reckons it’s spotted is a sort of ‘anti-Instagram’ — offering a playful contrast to the photo sharing platform’s polished (and at times preening) performances.

The idea is that sharing stuff on Splish is a bonding experience; part of an ongoing smartphone-enabled conversation between mates, rather than a selectively manicured photoshoot which also has to be carefully packaged for public ‘gram consumption.

Splish does have a public feed, though, so it’s not a pure messaging app — but the co-founders say the focus is friend group sharing rather than publ

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