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Avatar's weak opening, Steven Spielberg's big regret, and the Zone of death

Our BPMs are still coming down from yesterday's unbelievable France-Argentina World Cup final. @Sanchovies on Twitter said it best: "As an Argentina fan since December 2022 I can't even put into words how much this all means to me." If you also joined the bandwagon — well done. No timecards when it comes to sports fandom.

In today's edition:

  • Avatar's weak opening

  • Steven Spielberg's big regret

  • Zone of death

🔑 Key Stories

Avatar II Falls Short of Projections

Avatar: The Way of Water underperformed earning projections in its opening weekend

  • Disney spent ~$600M on Avatar’s long-awaited sequel, which premiered on Friday. It made $134M in the US in its opening weekend, less than its projected $150-$175M. It made an additional ~$301M internationally, for a total of $435M in its first 3 days

  • Its opening US weekend was nearly double that of its 2009 predecessor ($77M). Still, the original went on to gross $2.9B — the most any film ever has

  • Analysts say the sequel’s success will be based on its “staying power”; ie., how long it can stay in theaters

Dig Deeper

Argentina Wins World Cup

  • Argentina beat defending champions France in a penalty shootout after a 3-3 draw. Argentina made 4 penalty kicks to France’s 2. Argentine superstar Lionel Messi scored 2 goals; French superstar Kylian Mbappé scored 3, the first time a player has done so in a final in 56 years

  • It was Argentina’s 3rd World Cup victory ever and its 1st since 1986. It also gives Messi — widely seen as one of the sport’s GOATs — his first FIFA-Cup victory

  • Messi, 35, said this will be his last Cup. Many are calling the final the best in World Cup history

Dig Deeper

  • Millions took to Argentina's streets to celebrate the victory. In its capital, Buenos Aires, thousands flocked to the "Obelisk," the city's unofficial congregation point; in Rosario, Messi's hometown, cheering crowds celebrated at the city's Flag Monument

Twitter Reinstates Journalists

Dig Deeper

  • On Sunday night, Musk tweeted a poll asking, "Should I step down as head of Twitter? I will abide by the results of this poll." ~58% of ~17M respondents said "Yes"; Roca will update on the situation as needed

Disease Threatens US Deer Herds

  • Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal disease in deer. It leads to weight loss, coordination issues, a lack of fear of humans, and other symptoms before certain death

  • While the disease has been detected since the 1960s, its prevalence has been increasing. In some states, more than 5% of herds are testing positive for it. 5% is also the rate above which infections rise exponentially, causing deer populations to fall

  • While it has not yet caused mass die-offs, it has spread to 29 states, prompting fears that it could

Dig Deeper

  • Authorities are advising hunters in some areas to test venison for the disease before eating it, although there have been no known cases of deer-to-human transmission


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Dig Deeper

  • Vinovest is a platform that lets anyone invest in wine. It uses master sommeliers and AI algorithms to build a diversified wine portfolio based on your investing preferences. Vinovest authenticates, stores, and insures your wine, but you still own it 100%

*Past fine wine price trends are not indicative of future price trends. There is no guarantee of profits and investing includes risk of loss. For additional information you are encouraged to review Vinovest Terms & Conditions

🍿 Popcorn


  • Gonna need a bigger Kleenex: Steven Spielberg says he deeply regrets the impact his movie Jaws may have had on the decline of shark populations

  • Jurassic purchase: A T-Rex head sold for $6M at auction this month. Dinosaur fossils have become a hot commodity at auctions in recent years

  • Oops... he's spoken again: Brittney Spears' dad Jamie spoke in an interview for the first time in a decade. He claimed the conservatorship may have saved Brittney's life


  • Pope's emergency note: Pope Francis revealed that he wrote a retirement note in 2013 in case medical problems were ever to prevent him from doing his duties

  • Committing a feline-y: An Alabama judge found 2 women guilty of misdemeanor crimes related to their trapping and feeding of stray cats in local parks

  • Innovate más: Taco Bell is considering making french fries a permanent menu item. It wants to better compete with McDonald's in the breakfast and lunch slots

👇🏻 What do you think?

Today's Poll

Did you watch the World Cup final?

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Today's Question:

Do you think soccer will replace baseball as America's third most popular sport in the next 10 years?

Reply to this email with your answers!

See yesterday's results below the Wrap! 

🌯 Roca Wrap

There’s only one place in the United States where you can commit a crime and get away with it: The Zone of Death.

At least according to Brain Kalt, a Michigan State University law professor.

In 2005, Kalt authored a paper titled The Perfect Crime, in which he argues there is a 50-square-mile portion of Idaho – the “Zone of Death” – in which anyone can commit felonies with impunity.

That’s because the Sixth Amendment says that people charged with crimes have a right to be tried by a jury of their peers, selected from the state and region where the crime took place. In the Zone of Death, that’s impossible.

The “Zone of Death” is the portion of Yellowstone National Park that extends into Idaho. 96% of Yellowstone is in Wyoming and the federal government, which has exclusive jurisdiction in Yellowstone, has placed the entire park in the District of Wyoming. Not a single person lives in the Idaho portion.

That means if a person commits a crime there, no jury could be drawn from the state and region where the crime took place, according to Walt. The Sixth Amendment guarantees a trial by jury. No jury, no trial. The government would be forced to dismiss charges.

The theory may not be fool proof, however.

In December 2005, a man shot an elk in the Montana portion of Yellowstone Park (3% of the park lies in Montana). Hunting is prohibited within Yellowstone National Park boundaries.

Inspired by Kalt’s theory, the culprit claimed a legal case could only proceed if he were granted a trial with a jury drawn from the Montana residents of the park. There were technically enough residents in that part of Montana to do so, but it would have been difficult to form the jury.

A judge denied his request, however, stating that any crime committed in Yellowstone should be tried in the state of Wyoming, with a jury of Wyoming residents. The man ultimately received a plea deal.

And not all crimes would qualify under Kalt's theory. The jury-trial right applies only to "serious" offenses – offenses that carry a potential sentence over 6 months. Petty offenses, like some kinds of low-level assaults, and civil suits don’t always require a jury.

Nevertheless, earlier this year, some Idaho lawmakers appealed to have Congress close the “legal loophole.” They were inspired by recent high-profile disappearances in the area, including that of Gabby Petito, who disappeared near Yellowstone in August 2021. Her body was later found in nearby Grand Teton national park.

"No crimes have been committed [in the Zone of Death], that I'm aware of, and gone unprosecuted," said the Idaho lawmaker leading the request. "But every time there's a high-profile disappearance in this area, I think about this.”

He wants Congress to make the Idaho and Montana portions of Yellowstone subject to the jurisdictions of the District of Idaho and the District of Montana.

Congress has yet to take any action, however. For now, the Zone of Death remains open for business.

🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Would you be more scared of a volcano or tsunami?🌋 Volcano: 20.0%🌊 Tsunami: 80.0%

Yesterday's Question:

Just 20 Qs!

🧠 Final Thoughts

None of us are diehard soccer fans, however we found it impossible not to catch football fever in the last month. That's the kind of game we'll tell our kids about in 30 years. We're going to do the Lionel Messi Roca Wrap on our sports page today.

For those who watched, what did you think/feel seeing him lift the trophy at the end?

Have a great Monday!

Max and Max