Home Reviews Film How a Hollywood Actors’ Strike Will Affect the Film Industry – Deadline

How a Hollywood Actors’ Strike Will Affect the Film Industry – Deadline

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How a Hollywood Actors’ Strike Will Affect the Film Industry – Deadline

Six weeks into the writers’ strike, the early returns of summer studio films have been some of the best since Covid brought exhibition business to a halt. But if SAG-AFTRA members trade pick-up lines for pick-up lines starting July 1, business could look like a pandemic slump.

Domestic box office is just getting back on its feet, nearing $4 billion for the year and 30% ahead of the same January-early June period a year ago. Theatrical release dates have once again become precious commodities worth millions of dollars in revenue and fat to boost the revenues of downstream films. And theater has regained a spotlight stolen from broadcasters during the Covid shutdown.

But what happens to the lineup of summer and fall movies and their release locations, film and TV production starts and carefully calibrated Emmy campaigns if there are no actors to promote their films and make new ?

Here’s the stark reality: In a statement to Deadline, SAG-AFTRA tells us, “There is no promotion of a job struck during a strike. Promotional activities related to signature production are covered by labor under the Basic Agreement, and thus, labor is affected during the strike.”

The Writers Guild has prevailed on other members of the guild not to cross the lines during the strike which is approaching its 40th day and this unpleasant situation has stalled films, including the Jennifer Lopez starrer. Unstoppable. And just a day ago (as Deadline exclusively revealed), Netflix told the cast and crew of the Robert De Niro series Day Zero to go home and stay there until fall to avoid closings. This follows the shuttering of Lionsgate’s Keanu Reeves pic Good luck, Marvel Studios Lightning and some others. How many others will stop in advance remains to be seen.

RELATED: TV Shows Affected by WGA Strike: ‘Etoile,’ ‘Zero Day,’ ‘Hysteria!,’ ‘Duster,’ and More

The city is taking all this death seriously.

Oppenheimer with Cillian Murphy

Cillian Murphy in “Oppenheimer”

UNIVERSAL

Releases coming up in the next couple of months won’t necessarily be affected, like Tom Cruise’s Mission ImpossibleDead Reckoning Part 1 (July 12), Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer and the Margot Robbie-Ryan Gosling film Barbie (both on July 21). Millions are already spent on marketing, many times more than trends. But the unavailability of the film stars of the upcoming film series makes any show vulnerable not only domestically but also at the foreign box office, where talent is crucial for spreading buzz on the tentpole.

In several extensive conversations with studio executives, we hear that even if the actors strike for a short period or even months, the studios will take the risk and keep their theatrical schedules intact for 2023. So far no changes to the date are expected of publication. ; Studio marketers, no longer able to walk the stars on late-night talk shows that shut down when the writers walked, would whistle by the graveyard and rely on promoting their films through trailers and TV spots. But if profits are limited on some of these films, will a Christmas tentpole like Warner Bros./DC happen? Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom delay release?

The Flower Moon Assassins

“Flower Moon Killers”

Apple

What about reward bait movies like Apple Original Films/Paramount’s The Flower Moon Assassins, which drew raves at its Cannes premiere, but will need the star power of Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio and De Niro, and the revelation that Lily Gladstone turned out to be? The strength of films showing at fall film festivals will also be reduced if an actors’ strike occurs.

Popcorn pictures slated for release are those slated for Q1 2024. These current titles on the calendar include Lionsgate’s Dirty dancing sequel, from Sony Miss Web, Warner Bros. mobster movie Wise guys and Universal Autumn boy among others. Films in this corridor are likely to undergo reshoots or ADR in the near future and an actors’ strike would cause further delays.

There is fear among some that a protracted WGA strike in the deep fall will derail the second half of the 2024 theatrical schedule, especially for the bigger films. However, animated films and low-budget horror titles must be in good condition to be screened.

Keanu Reeves brings a spark of joy to last year’s Comic-Con in person with a look at the ‘John Wick Chapter 4’ trailer.

The most immediate place where a potential SAG-AFTRA strike will be felt is at San Diego Comic-Con, which runs July 19-23. Already, the WGA strike is preventing TV creators from getting out there and sitting on panels. The prospect of a star-less geek fest would boost a conference that annually attracts 135,000 attendees and which fully reverted to an in-person event last year after a two-year Covid hiatus. Many studios and networks are in a wait-and-see mode to see how shows and movies will pan out. Some such as HBO are skipping because there is no immediate fanboy series on the horizon. At the very least, a director or producer might descend on Hall H with footage in hand to be seen.

A Comic-Con spokesperson told Deadline: “Regarding the strike and its potential effects on Comic-Con, we tend to refrain from speculating or predicting. I will say, our hope is for a quick resolution that will be beneficial to all parties and allow everyone to get on with the work they love. Until then, we continue to work hard on our summer event in hopes of making it as fun, educational and festive as in years past.”

Jason Sudeikis accepts the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for “Ted Lasso” on stage during the 74th Primetime Emmys (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

Also looking grim this summer with WGA Strike: The Television Critics Association Press. However, Deadline hears that the announcement of the nominations for the Primetime Emmy Awards, set for July 12, is not in danger of being moved. Meanwhile, the Television Academy has set September 9 and 10 for the Creative Emmy Awards and Monday, September 18 for the Primetime Emmy Awards. Whether those ceremonies will be shortened or moved because of ongoing union strikes depends on where the industry stands in August.

Meanwhile, many studios are already taking precautions in case of a SAG-AFTRA strike, ie. Barbie AND Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem have moved up to this month, and the premiere for Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1 is in Rome on June 19. Many studios have already signed press material with talent that can be used to promote summer releases on social media. The notion that the July 21 confrontation between Barbie AND Oppenheimer would move due to a SAG strike is out of the question since millions of marketing dollars have already been committed and it would be even more costly to delay them. In the worst case, according to sources, premieres during the month of July may be cancelled.

Margot Robbie as 'Barbie'

Margot Robbie in “Barbie”

Warner Bros.

Currently, jungle for Oppenheimer is set for early July with Cillian Murphy, Matt Damon, Emily Blunt and Robert Downey Jr among others. Even if a strike sidelines the cast, many point to the fact that director Christopher Nolan, with DGA having already signed a contract with AMPTP, remains a major selling point.

One possibility that has some studio marketing executives at ease is that there could be a grace period for SAG-AFTRA members during July, allowing actors to work and promote projects if talks go smoothly. Despite the union’s vote this week to authorize a strike, it’s not necessarily a 100% work stoppage the day after the contract expires on June 30, as it was with the WGA on May 1 with pencils down.

Even with SAG-AFTRA’s statement promoting the projects, some representatives and studio insiders tell us they haven’t been briefed directly by the union on what should and shouldn’t happen if a strike occurs. As we get closer to June 30, reps expect to hear more about what actors can and can’t do.

Studios can cut some marketing costs by not having an actor on the globe tour for a film, but a release date change would be too much for any studio and exhibition sector to handle after Covid turned business upside down.

“You don’t want to remove yourself from the release calendar,” says a studio insider. “We are all similarly hampered by this.”

David Robb contributed to this report.

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