In the works: The bestselling Harry Potter children's book series has all of Hollywood under its spell, with plans to make a resounding impact on the silver screen. Look for this proposed $1 billion franchise to create licensing and merchandising opportunities galore. . . . Pinball to pasture: A sudden tilt to the gaming industry has pulled the plug on those bell-ringing, ramped, monstrous mechanisms known as pinball machines. WMS Industries Inc., the largest manufacturer of such amusements, has terminated its line, driving the prices of antiques even higher. . . . Cocktail revival: The concept of fusing Asian and Latin culinary elements has trickled down into the champagne flutes and martini glasses of the resurgent cocktail culture. A new spectrum of tasty concoctions mix obscure liquors, and even some ethnic herbs and roots, to create variants of the kamikaze, martini and cosmopolitan. . . . Start your engines: The buzz generated by those streaming stock car racers has increased momentum with Saban Entertainment's NASCAR Racers, a two-dimensional computer-animated series on Fox Kids Network targeting 6- to 11-year-olds. Viewers are now sporting the NASCAR look as well, taking to `pit-crew chic'. . . .FYI: We've read it everywhere: More than half the U.S. adult population is overweight, high-calorie and fat consumption is at an all-time high, and 40 percent of the American population does not exercise. So if you can think of a way to whip Americans into shape, be sure to let us know.
Harry Potter, the movie; the death of pinball; ethnic cocktails; stock car cartoon; overweight consumers