Strike causes a few delays to be announced, more on way?

Hollywood sign WGA writers strike negotiations
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Industry insider Daniel Richtman has claimed that a huge raft of delays to big movies could be imminent. 

It’s certainly an interesting time for the world of film. The huge global opening weekend for Oppenheimer and Barbie has proved that audiences will venture out in huge numbers if a release feels like a big enough event. However, rather than be heartened by this, studios are scratching their heads and wondering how to make their movies feel like events without movie stars to promote them.

The ongoing strike in Hollywood hasn’t just suspended production on many films, it now has studios worrying about releasing the completed ones that they already have. The recent dismal box office performance of The Flash is being held up as the sort of financial train wreck that a studio could be facing if it attempts to release a big-budget film without a star or two to promote it. (Actors cannot promote their films throughout the duration of the strike.)

That film’s failings had nothing to do with the strike of course (and a lot more to do with Warner Bros’ reluctance to shine a light on the controversial figure of Ezra Miller) but all the same, it has made studios very wary. Whilst you can look at the Barbenheimer phenomenon as evidence to the contrary, those two films enjoyed months and months with their respective stars promoting them. It seems to have worked too, only further underlining the problem for studios.

The upcoming Zendaya film Challengers has already been pushed back into 2024 and according to Richtman on a recent podcast, several of the major studios are now considering moving their later summer/early autumn releases into 2024. As we saw during the pandemic, when No Time To Die was the first film to be delayed, it only takes one major title to be moved and a chain reaction will begin with no studio wishing to be left exposed and risking huge financial losses.

It won’t be good news for cinemas especially, who are still trying to recover from the pandemic and hopefully, all parties can get around a table and get back to negotiating quickly. If not, the second half of 2023 could be a season of indie and streaming releases only. We’ll bring you more on this one as we hear it.

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