Even before SAG-AFTRA went on strike Hollywood studios were facing challenges with ongoing movie production due to the Writers Guild of America work stoppage. With unionized actors having walked out after their contract ended in July, Hollywood studios began removing several big-budget movies from the 2023 release calendar. Sony Pictures Entertainment is the latest studio to do so, delaying the release of at least two major films, “Kraven the Hunter” and the “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” sequel, along with some 2024 releases like “Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse” and a new “Karate Kid” movie.
Other studios, including Warner Bros., are also considering postponing their upcoming releases. The strike is impacting the promotion of completed films, as the actors’ union has banned its members from participating in any publicity efforts for projects being marketed by members of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
Though the strike by SAG-AFTRA, the actors’ union, is primarily focused on better pay from streaming services and protections related to artificial intelligence, the current lack of stars available for promotional activities forced studios rethink their release strategies for the remainder of 2023. The situation is complicated by the uncertainty of the strike’s duration, which could potentially affect the 2024 release calendar as well. Sony has already adjusted its 2024 slate, but some movies, like “Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse,” remain without a new release date. As studios and movie theatres have already learned, a steady supply of new theatrical releasees is required to facilitate the industry’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.