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Failure to Launch: Why Is Pixar’s Lightyear a Box Office Dud?

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The summer movie season is in full swing, and we’re slowly but surely crawling back to business as usual. Non-Marvel movies are hitting, turnout is up across the board, and leggy originals like Everything Everywhere All at Once point to strong signs of life.

There are still huge problems, but we can at least start to fall back on the conventional wisdom. Franchise films still soar, occasional crowd-pleasing originals break through, and Pixar’s tentpole release cruises to an easy billion.

Or so we thought.

Just before the pandemic, Pixar crossed a billion with Toy Story 4, one year after crushing it with Incredibles 2. Now, after a string of Disney+ releases, they’ve taken another big swing with the Toy Story spinoff Lightyear

Just a week ago, bullish projections had Lightyear nearing a nine-figure opening weekend and cruising to $500m from there. Instead, the family-friendly tentpole opened second, failing to surpass a plummeting Jurassic World Dominion.

Why did Lightyear flop?

If you’ve been on social media lately, you’ve seen the headline: Lightyear bombs. Disappointing on its face, but the ramifications go far beyond the potential for a Woody’s Roundup spinoff film.

The past couple Pixar films (Soul, Luca, Turning Red) released exclusively on Disney+. Many maligned the shafting of these exciting animated films. It’s especially upsetting for Turning Red, which could’ve easily been one of 2022’s runaway box office hits.

Lightyear is the test. A new direction for Pixar’s biggest franchise. The most means-tested Pixar film gets the theatrical boost, and if it does well, the other movies follow. For this reason, it is a big deal that Lightyear flopped. So, what happened?

If you frequent Facebook, you’ve no doubt seen the “get woke go broke” narrative. A gay kiss, which was removed from the film and added back after Disney’s March “Don’t Say Gay” controversy, has gotten the film banned in several countries. Domestic concern trolls like Ben Shapiro, enamored by Saudi Arabia’s officially-sanctioned bigotry, ratcheted up scare pieces on the film in the past week.

In today’s new heights of parental hysteria, it wouldn’t surprise me if a few thousand families stayed home due to right-wing fearmongering. Still, history doesn’t really support the notion that this would have a substantial impact on box office. Multiverse of Madness made big bank with equally-major LGBTQ+ characters. If anything, it could be said that these films’ lack of a Chinese release upsets their box office returns, but that doesn’t explain a poor opening weekend.

Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story 2

Still others have pointed to the shafting of Tim Allen, replaced in the role of Buzz by Chris Evans. Allen’s performance in the Toy Story movies is iconic and truly fantastic. Still, I question the notion that $30 million went missing from beleaguered Tim Allen fans.

The other explanation? Marketing. Lightyear got off on the wrong foot with an unclear premise. Evans’ ill-fated explanation tweet only made matters worse. Is this about a real Buzz Lightyear in the Toy Story universe?

One could argue that even today, Disney hasn’t totally gotten their story straight. The movie itself explains that this is the movie that the Buzz Lightyear toy comes from. An ‘80s sci-fi movie that Andy saw. In theaters. In 1995. That’s styled like a 2022 blockbuster. You can see how people got lost.

On the other hand, we might just be asking the wrong question.

Did Lightyear flop?

Of course, it’s too early to say definitively if Lightyear is a flop. That’s not what I’m arguing here.

We’re dealing with a case of Hollywood math, the same system by which Suicide Squad’s $750m profit is considered a dismal failure. Disney had the wrong idea about this movie as soon as they pushed it for a tentpole opening.

Lightyear’s $50m opening puts it in league with Coco and Cars 3, solidly ahead of true Pixar flops like The Good Dinosaur and Onward. It’s the highest opening for an animated film since Frozen II. With a COVID handicap still in play, that’s impressive.

Pixar’s mistake was to angle for a major franchise opening. They applied a post-pandemic framework to the nine-figure openings of Toy Story 4 and Finding Dory. They thought, reasonably enough, that parents would pay big money to turn out for a new, fresh installment in the beloved Toy Story franchise.

Herein lies the real problem. Lightyear is not, in any meaningful sense, a Toy Story movie. It has name recognition, which Hollywood has come to treat as a golden rule over the past two decades. But it follows a completely different character, played by a completely different actor, in a completely different world.

Like I said earlier, Tim Allen’s Buzz Lightyear is truly great. But the character is only a toy with an inflated ego, being constantly hit in the face by reality like Sideshow Bob stepping on infinite rakes. So much as wondering about “the real Buzz Lightyear” misses the point of the character.

Lightyear may marginally be a victim of conservative backlash, or poor promotion, or even COVID woes. But fundamentally, it’s a victim of its own premise.

What happens now?

Pixar’s next film, Elemental, is already slated for a theatrical release next summer. Barring a huge COVID flare-up or other societal collapse, they probably won’t go back on that. Down the line, other Pixar flicks in development may be looking at streaming releases if Disney has their way.

If anything, The Bad Guys’ recent success proves feature animation is doing fine. In a few weeks, the new Minions movie will likely confirm that. November’s Strange World will tell us if Disney’s animation department has any sort of long-term problem.

I can’t really recommend that you see Lightyear—in fairness, I haven’t seen it myself. If you want variety at the movies, the answer isn’t to support whatever Disney puts out. Live a little and see something out of your comfort zone. If Lightyear’s fate is already sealed, at least it won’t be at the expense of film as a whole.

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Business

12 Best Manufacturing Software for Businesses in 2022

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Small or mid-sized companies in the manufacturing sector acknowledge that manufacturing software helps them keep up with orders and production jobs. This software allows business owners to come up with accurate bills of materials as well as inventory management. 

There is plenty of manufacturing software available in the market today. To help you find the right tool, we’ve compiled the best manufacturing software solutions rated well by real software users. We’ve listed twelve products that stood out among thousands of applications in manufacturing that deliver excellent value.

1. Odoo

odoo logo

Odoo is an open-source business management tool that offers various applications to streamline every company’s needs or processes. Its features include enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), point of sale (POS) system, accounting, manufacturing, email marketing, and invoicing. 

2. Genius ERP

genius ERP logo

Genius ERP is a manufacturing ERP software made for custom manufacturers. It assists manufacturers in reducing costs, increasing productivity, and improving business performance. Genius ERP’s key features are accounting, scheduling, product engineering, production planning, and job costing.

3. JobBOSS

jobBOSS logo

JobBOSS is a job shop management software for manufacturers and job shop owners. The answer can assist with quote processing, order processing, shop floor control, inventory control, shipping, estimates, and data visualization.

4. Epicor Kinetic

epicor kinetic logo

Epicor Kinetic is an ERP solution that helps manufacturing plans and manages its resources. The software has all the features you need to scale, compete, and attract top talent to your organization. These include CRM, advanced planning and scheduling, supply chain management, product lifecycle management, and a quality management system.

5. NetSuite

netsuite logo

NetSuite is a business management solution that integrates various applications such as ERP, accounting, CRM, HCM, omnichannel commerce, reporting, and analytics. The solution offers real-time operational and financial performance insights while automating core processes.

6. DEAR Systems

dear systems logo

DEAR Systems is an ERP software specifically created for small and medium businesses. The comprehensive solution has modules dedicated to manufacturing, purchasing, sales, inventory management, accounting, POS, and warehouse management.

7. Fishbowl Inventory

fishbowl inventory logo

Fishbowl is a popular manufacturing and warehouse inventory management solution for small and medium enterprises. The software enables the user to generate work orders and track inventory. Likewise, it integrates with accounting software to scale your business.

8. Katana Manufacturing ERP

katana ERP logo

Katana Manufacturing ERP lets you gain clear visibility over inventory sales and order management. The solution also controls the total shop floor while tracking manufacturing costs based on product operations.

9. MRPEasy

MRPeasy logo

MRPeasy is a manufacturing software for small companies that integrates various modules in one solution, including procurement, supply chain management, and CRM. It also streamlines the purchasing process while managing every purchase order and organizing purchase cycles.

10. Prodsmart

prodsmart logo

California-based Prodsmart is a manufacturing execution solution for portable and mobile devices. The floor supervisors and machine operators can use the software directly from their workstations rather than stepping away from the floor.

11. Sage 100cloud

sage 100cloud logo

Sage 100cloud is an ERP solution for discrete manufacturers, wholesale distributors, and professional service processes. It streamlines the manufacturing business to provide greater visibility into every item’s status and optimized inventory.

12. Statii

Statii logo

Statii is an ERP and MRP software created for small manufacturing firms. The solution helps create work orders, scheduling, inventory, purchase orders, invoicing, contact management, and reporting.

Conclusion

Adopting technologically advanced manufacturing software can give your business all the functionalities the tool offers to ensure maximum productivity. These solutions allow you to efficiently handle shop floor management, scheduling, time tracking, and accounting. Finding a platform that’s easy to use can be a great way to start your software-buying process. 

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Business

The 8 Best Enterprise Accounting Software

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For large companies that handle vast amounts of financial records, enterprise accounting software is a necessity. If you’re looking to get one, below are 8 of the best we found:

1. Oracle NetSuite ERP

oracle website

A leading name in the business software industry, Oracle NetSuite ERP (enterprise resource planning) is a powerful choice. It takes care of everything accounting, from tax to cash management concerns, and many more in between. This accounting software integrates seamlessly with NetSuite’s other features to provide enterprise-sized businesses with a full-service suite.

Oracle helps you manage inventories, track finances, host e-commerce shops, and maintain your CRM (customer relationship management) systems. 

2. Sage Intacct

sage website

Cloud-based platform Sage Intacct is another solid choice for enterprise accounting software. It provides the usual essential accounting tools such as general ledger, accounts receivable and payable, cash and tax management, among many others. Its users love the additional features Sage Intacct has to offer.

Its advanced accounting tools include dynamic allocations, project-based accounting, and AI-powered timesheets, to name a few. Its intelligent general ledger tool is AI-powered which is efficient and saves you time and money.

3. QuickBooks Enterprise

quickbooks website

A popular enterprise accounting software, QuickBooks Enterprise has industry-specific solutions any entrepreneur will appreciate. It has built-in automation tools that include payroll, collection of customer payments, task management, recurring invoices, and many more.

It has robust reporting tools and more than 200 customizable reports for better financial visibility. QuickBooks Enterprise has built-in budgeting and forecasting tools and advanced inventory and order management capabilities. 

4. Xero

xero website

Initially created for small businesses, Xero has the power and capabilities to handle enterprise accounting companies as well. It features tools to make accounting quick and easy, including cost capturing, invoicing, bank reconciliation, and payment processing. 

With its Xero Workpapers feature, enterprise owners use the platform to automate compliance processes. Users of Xero enjoy its robust analytics and reporting capabilities that give them valuable information about client cash flows.

5. Acumatica Cloud ERP

acumatica website

For enterprises with multiple entities, Acumatica Cloud ERP is a highly recommended accounting software. Its users love how it can centralize their enterprise’s financial data and processes across different locations. It is capable of handling project-based accounting, managing billing, and budgeting, aside from its basic accounting capabilities.

You can customize workflows for accounting automation and many financial management processes. In addition to its multi-entity accounting, Acumatica helps with currency, tax, and payroll management.

6. FinancialForce

financialforce website

If your enterprise deals with customers the world over, FinancialForce is the accounting software for you. Aside from the core tools for accounting, it also has global-grade solutions such as multi-currency and multi-language capabilities. It is built on the popular CRM platform Salesforce, so you’ll know you’re in good hands.

FinancialForce uses SalesForce’s Einstein, giving you insightful and intelligent financial data. It

also has built-in compliance reports and financial statement template features.

7. SAP

sap website

Providing enterprises with complete financial management, SAP is an industry leader in ERPs. Its SAP Billing and Revenue Innovation Management allows businesses to automate their billing and invoicing processes. Alongside its basic accounting tools, this software helps you with concerns about governance, risk, and compliance (GRC).

It has been proven excellent in simplifying financial closing through its automated workflows. It also provides support for subscription and usage-based billing and accounts receivable.

8. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance

microsoft website

Sporting a trusted name in the tech industry, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance is an excellent choice for an accounting software. It offers automated vendor invoice processing, financial reporting capabilities, built-in tax calculation tools for tax compliance, and many more.

It seamlessly integrates with other Microsoft platforms, including Dynamics 365 Sales and Dynamics 365 Commerce. It is a powerful tool that helps you monitor many financial operations.

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Business

The Best POS Systems for Small Businesses

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There are many hurdles to running a small business. More often than not, you are working with meager resources and even more limited staffing. Because of this, you need an efficient set of tools to help you manage everyday operations. 

And one of the most critical suites to any retail business is a point of sale (POS) system. This tool allows business owners to cater to various payment options, whether online or in-person. Another great thing about POS systems is that they come with practical business features, depending on your industry. 

Here are the ten best POS system for small businesses today:

1. Clover

clover website

If you need a POS system for your small business right now, Clover can get it done for you. It has essential credit card processing tools and more. Users can link Clover with third-party apps for other functions like managing payroll. Clover Go, which works on Android and iOS tablets, is the best option for small business owners.

The suite’s virtual terminal allows owners to accept payments via a smart device. But the most appealing feature of Clover is its ease of use. Their terminals come pre-configured, so onboarding is mostly a smooth process. 

2. Square

square website

Square has good overall features, making it a top option for general retailers. Users can get barcode printing tools, sales reports, and stock management. Apart from that, though, it also has specific features and tools designed for individual contractors and restaurants.

Another plus is that Square accounts come with a built-in e-commerce store. Finally, POS users can expect speedy payments and buy now, pay later charges via Afterpay.  

3. Chase

chase website

On the other hand, Chase has various hardware and virtual solutions that accept payments from multiple platforms. Users can expect to get physical tablets and standalone terminals for brick-and-mortar shops. And users can even make contactless payments and wireless credit card payment processing with the Chase Smart Terminal.

Aside from that, Chase also has e-commerce integrations for online stores. Because of these features, Chase is ideal for e-commerce shops and general retailers. 

4. Shopify 

shopify website

Shopify is the best mobile POS system for small businesses because it makes it easier for owners to start and complete payments in the same place. It’s also the best POS system for retailers that are on multiple channels. It has easy to use interface that online businesses can easily use. 

Plus, it has advanced tools that help with inventory and customer relations. Finally, Shopify lets users integrate with Apple and Facebook for better customer support. 

5. Toast

toast website

Toast offers POS systems for small businesses free of charge. Apart from this, they also have a good starter POS promo that’s ideal for businesses just starting out. Otherwise, they have pay-as-you-go and standard plans that lock users in for two years. 

The system is great for restaurants because of its many valuable features. These include QR code payments, delivery tools, a table check splitting tool, and more. Toast also has a staff and inventory management tool. 

6. Lightspeed

lightspeed website

On the other hand, companies that need superb inventory tools can try Lightspeed. It has a matrix system to manage your stock and create smooth data visualization. Here, you can draw up matrixes of product variants to see which items need restocking.

Lightspeed works even when it’s offline. This POS system for small businesses is best if you are in the food and beverage industry, as well as physical retailers and restaurants. 

7. Revel Systems

revel systems website

The best POS system for retail shops and restaurant is Revel Systems. Whether a general store or a busy retailer, you can count on Revel Systems’ hardware tools to finish payments.

Revel has iPad-based terminals that track stocks, orders, and deliveries for groceries and restaurants. In fact, its restaurant features include tracking tips, building menus, and managing tables. Meanwhile, its grocery tools include discount, loyalty, and gift card tools.

8. ITRetail

itretail website

On the other hand, ITRetail is a POS system for small business that’s best for groceries and small markets. For one, it has strong and flexible checkout options. Customers can pay via debit, credit card, gift cards, or e-wallet. It also has a host of options should people need to self-checkout. 

Apart from that, you can manage your stock via their mobile app. Users can customize CRM tools to monitor and track loyalty and rewards programs.

9. KORONA

korona website

KORONA is a POS suite that is best for high-risk enterprises. This refers to liquor, vape, and even cannabis stores. However, KORONA can also support brick-and-mortar shops and ticketed venues. Most online reviews deem KORONA one of the most flexible POS because it links with major payment processors. 

Aside from that, it’s also a top choice because of its stock tracking tools. It even has a ticketing function, making it a great event option. 

Tips for picking a POS system

When you think about the qualities of a great POS system, it can seem like an unnecessary expense. However, a POS system can be a game-changer for a small business. Here are a few tips on picking a system to make sure that it will be a worthy investment.

Hardware and Software Compatibility 

The first thing to look for when picking a POS system is whether it will be compatible with your hardware and software. Check if your POS system supports your computer operating system (like Windows or Mac). You also want to check if it works with your network and your printer or scanners. You don’t want to invest in a product that can’t work with your current systems. Keep in mind that POS systems come in various levels of functionality, so you can find one compatible with your existing technology.

Ease of Use

Another important thing to consider when picking a POS system for your small business is its easy use. The less time you spend on training your staff, the better. You want to find a POS system with an intuitive interface, making it easy for everyone from your office manager to your cashier. 

Security

Another important thing to consider when picking a POS system is its security features. You want a system that is protected against fraud and theft.

Budget

Lastly, don’t forget about the budget when picking a POS system. You don’t have to overspend to get a great product. A good rule of thumb is to look for a system in the middle of the price range for your industry.

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