‘No amount of paid advertising’ makes up for absent stars, states report

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As actors withdraw their pubic support for film releases, a new report has assessed the negative box office impact of ongoing strikes.

A new story from The Hollywood Reporter has delved into the financial impact that the ongiong strikes are having on film releases across the globe. With writers and actors no longer publicising their projects, media tours and red carpet premieres have become hugely scaled-down events and the outlet has attempted to assess the financial damage that has caused to the studios releasing these films.

Using the recent release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem as a case study, the report estimates that a film’s box office could be hurt by around 15 percent, should it lack stars to publicise it. Whilst Mutant Mayhem still earned a decent US opening weekend haul of $43m, the story states that a range of inside sources have estimated that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem will take a hit of $7 million to $10 million because of the publicity restrictions.’

Whilst that’s a big enough slice of revenue to studio bosses pause for thought, we wonder if those numbers won’t be revised upwards in the wake of this past weekend’s rather flat box office numbers for Blue Beetle and Strays. They’re two films that really could have done with some star power pushing, especially the latter with its stellar voice cast of Will Ferrell, Jamie Foxx, Will Forte, Isla Fisher, Randall Park, Josh Gad and Sofía Vergara.

We’ve seen studios adopt a film-by-film approach so far, with some movies like Sony’s Gran Turismo face a short delay in some regions in order to build positive word of mouth through preview screenings. Other films like MGM’s Challengers have been pushed back into next year. Warner Bros Dune Part II is the film that everybody is looking at, as it surely represents the sort of huge blockbuster project that all commercial partners involved will want to maximise revenue from.

The film’s planned early November release means that a huge promotional campaign would soon be grinding into life. Whether Warner Bros and Legendary are willing to risk leaving a significant portion of the film’s box office on the table due to a muted publicity campaign could represent something of a test case for the bigger studio films that are set to follow it.

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