87476257Iron Man's Record Weekend

Walt Disney Co.'s (NYSE: DIS) "Iron Man 3″ could save the summer box office yield all by itself. Like several serial movie franchises, each installment tops the next. Theater owners, along with Disney shareholders, already may be anticipating "Iron Man 4." USA Today reports on the "Iron Man 3″ opening weekend:

"The terrible run of 2013 releases ended" this weekend, says David Mumpower of Boxofficeprophets.com. "Iron Man 3 behaved like a box-office black hole, mercilessly devouring the other films."

Critics and fans wolfed down the superhero story. About 78% of critics recommended the movie, while 83% of moviegoers liked it, according to pollsters RottenTomatoes.com.

Internationally, the film has been a hit for weeks, and IM3′s worldwide haul rose to $680.1 million. IMAX reported a record haul as well, collecting $16.5 million domestically and $13 million internationally.

Viagra Available Online

Men, or their significant others, will be able to buy Pfizer Inc.'s (NYSE: PFE) erectile dysfunction drug Viagra online soon. Maybe the big pharmaceutical company figures it is easier to use a computer than to walk into a drug store. After all, contact lenses already are available on the Internet. Another theory is that men are embarrassed to let their local pharmacist know that they have an erection problem. Whatever the reason, the Houston Chronicle reports on getting Viagra online:

Men still will need a prescription to buy the blue, diamond-shaped pill on viagra.com, but they no longer have to face a pharmacist to get it filled. And for those who are bothered by Viagra's steep $25-a-pill price, Pfizer is offering three free pills with the first order and 30 percent off the second one.

Pfizer's bold move blows up the drug industry's distribution model. Drugmakers don't sell medicines directly to patients. Instead, they sell in bulk to wholesalers, who then distribute the drugs to pharmacies, hospitals and doctors' offices.

But the world's second-largest drugmaker is trying a new strategy to tackle a problem that plagues the industry. Unscrupulous online pharmacies increasingly offer patients counterfeit versions of Viagra and other brand-name drugs for up to 95 percent off with no prescription needed. Patients don't realize the drugs are fake or that legitimate pharmacies require a prescription.

Those fake drugs do not work, anyway.

Spain's April Jobless Figures

Unemployment in Spain has been above 24% for several months, and there is nothing about the nation's economy that will reverse that. The central government has complained that austerity is the cause, as have most of the country's big unions. However, the European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund, European Union and Germany are not likely to change their view that austerity balances budgets. Spain currently vies with Greece for the highest jobless rate in Europe. Fox Business says about the April jobless figures for Spain:

Almost 5 million Spaniards were registered as unemployed in April, data showed, as their prospects of finding work in the country with the European Union's second highest jobless rate deteriorated further.

The number of registered jobless fell by 0.91 percent, or 46,050 people. But those gains were mainly down to restaurants and hotels gearing up for the holiday season, and in seasonally adjusted terms the number rose by 17,663 from March, Monday's labor ministry data showed.

"The figure shows the continued weakness of the labor market and of the Spanish economy. It's not compatible with the (government's forecast) of a stronger economy in the second quarter of the year," Jose Luis Martinez, a strategist at Citi in Madrid, said.


Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Market Open Tagged: DIS, PFE

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