Newsletter: California Inc.: Hollywood awaits film about its favorite subject — Hollywood

Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt star in "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood."
The stars align Friday with the release of Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt.
(Andrew Cooper)

Welcome to California Inc., the weekly newsletter of the L.A. Times Business Section.

I’m Business columnist David Lazarus, and here’s a rundown of upcoming stories this week and the highlights of last week.

Trading resumes Monday amid ongoing speculation about a cut in interest rates. A half-point? A quarter-point? The guessing game continues.



Home sales: Existing home sales will be released Tuesday. Sales rose 2.5% in May from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.34 million.

Jobless claims: Weekly jobless claims come out Thursday. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 216,000 for the week ended July 13.

Quarterly GDP: Economic growth takes center stage Friday with the latest stats on gross domestic product. The economy grew at a healthy 3.1% rate in the first three months of this year.

The way we were: The stars align Friday with the release of Quentin Tarantino’s much-anticipated “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and other top draws.


Monday’s Business section delves into how regulatory efforts to protect banks from themselves have vanished under the Trump administration. Nowadays, banks are once again exposing themselves to risk by seeking out mergers and offering potentially troublesome new products.


Here are some of the other stories that ran in the Times Business section in recent days that we’re continuing to follow:

Playing the field: Hollywood power players are all in with Democrats’ efforts to oust President Trump in 2020, with many donating to the campaigns of at least three contenders. Overall, the entertainment industry has donated more than $2.2 million to Democratic presidential candidates so far this year.

Emmy nominations: Thanks to the final season of long-running hit “Game of Thrones” and second-year comedy “Barry,” HBO reclaimed its position as a critical favorite, capturing 137 nominations for the 2019 Emmy Awards, the most of any network and topping streaming rival Netflix.

Coal country: Los Angeles is trying to lead the world in fighting climate change. But when Angelenos flip a light switch or charge an electric vehicle, some of the energy may come from Intermountain, a coal plant that has been L.A.’s single-largest power source for three decades, supplying between one-fifth and one-third of the city’s electricity in recent years.

Tech town: Technology companies have been hiring at such a rapid pace that they have come to rule the Los Angeles office market and are spreading their influence into neighborhoods that were not previously considered white-collar business centers. The Los Angeles area now has the third-largest tech workforce on the West Coast.

The big picture: Regal L.A. Live, a downtown multiplex, plans to introduce immersive multi-screen cinema technology in one of its auditoriums this fall. It will feature a traditional screen at the front, like any other theater. But the audience will also be flanked by five LED screens on each side that will flood moviegoers’ peripheral vision.


And some recent stories from other publications that caught our eye:

Healthcare abroad: Some good advice from the New York Times, which looks at the question of healthcare for people who retire abroad. “If they were living in the United States, Medicare would generally be their coverage option. But Medicare doesn’t pay for care outside the country, except in limited circumstances.”

Virtual combat: The New Yorker examines how cyber weapons are changing modern warfare. “Unlike nuclear weapons, which are expensive and stockpiled by a small number of states, cyber weapons are cheap and widely available, not just to nation-states but to criminals and malign actors.”

Kid stuff: The Atlantic spotlights the fact that cities are experiencing a renaissance, except for one small thing (or lots of small things): kids. “In high-density cities like San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C., no group is growing faster than rich college-educated whites without children.”

Research ahoy: Bloomberg sets sail with answers to the queasy question, “How do you test a new seasickness drug?” “Most drug trials take place in sterile hospital labs, universities or clinics. Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. decided a boat in the Pacific Ocean would be better.”

Out of this world: The Wall Street Journal details the painstaking efforts to bring an Apollo spacecraft computer back to life. “These moonshot machines were the world’s first general-purpose, portable, digital computers, the first to fly and the first on which human lives directly depended.”

Best songs with “Moon” in the title (and, yes, there are many to choose from). Frank Sinatra scores a twofer with “Moon River” and “Fly Me to the Moon.” Creedence earns due respect with “Bad Moon Rising.” Can’t offerlook offerings from Van Morrison, Cat Stevens and the Police. But my pick for all-time greatest Moon song is this classic from the Marcels.

For the latest money news, go to Until next time, I’ll see you in the Business section.