Movies, TV shut down for strikes; film fests, awards groups wait and see

Members of the Writers Guild of America East are joined by SAG-AFTRA members and actors. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
1 of 6 | Members of the Writers Guild of America East are joined by SAG-AFTRA members and actors. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, July 19 (UPI) -- The SAG-AFTRA strike has had immediate impacts on Hollywood production, though it may take months for viewers to observe many of those effects. The guild's strike, effective midnight last Friday, shut down any active studio productions,

SAG-AFTRA leaders called the strike July 13, after negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers failed to result in a new contract. Some issues include raising the minimums for acting jobs to keep up with inflation, and the use of artificial intelligence to scan and copy background actors for reuse.


Deadpool 3, Venom 3 and Mission: Impossible -- Dead Reckoning Part Two were among films in mid-production when their casts went on strike, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

However, many completed films are still scheduled for release this fall, having finished production prior to the strike. Dune: Part Two opens Nov. 3, The Marvels Nov. 10, Wonka Dec. 15, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom Dec. 20 and The Color Purple Christmas Day, among others.


Broadcast television was already disrupted by the Writers Guild of America strike that began May 1.

Unscripted, foreign shows

ABC announced a fall lineup of unscripted shows, including The Golden Bachelor, Judge Steve Harvey, Celebrity Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, $100,000 Pyramid, Press Your Luck and Abbott Elementary reruns.

The CW announced a fall schedule that includes imports from Canada such as Son of a Critch, Run the Burbs and Children Ruin Everything which begin airing in July. Canada's The Spencer Sisters and Sullivan's Crossing, The U.K.'s Everyone Else Burns air on The CW in October, as well as the new season of reality dating show FBoy Island.

CBS had a tentative drama slate earlier in the year but Monday revised it to feature episodes of the U.K. comedy Ghosts, on which its adaptation is based. CBS will broadcast its cable series Yellowstone and streaming series FBI True this fall.

SEAL Team, which moved to Paramount+ in its fifth season, also returns to CBS along with encore episodes of Blue Bloods' 13 seasons. Reality shows Buddy Games, Lotería Loca and Raid the Cage join Survivor and The Amazing Race on the schedule.

CBS is also continuing its The Price Is Right At Night and Let's Make a Deal Primetime game shows in the fall.


Smoother for streaming

The strike will disrupt fewer streaming premieres. Disney+ has Star Wars: Ahsoka premiering Aug. 23, Loki Season 2 on Oct. 6 and Echo on Nov. 29. Apple TV+ has The Morning Show Season 3 premiering Sept. 13 and Prime Video has Wheel of Time Season 2 on Sept. 1.

Streaming hits Cobra Kai, Stranger Things and Hacks shut down production due to the Writers Guild of America strike according to Deadline. So their upcoming seasons will be delayed.

SAG President Fran Drescher said fans of shows support their stars and writers protesting for living wages.

"If we let this happen to us, dollars for donuts it's going to happen to you and your family, your children and everybody you work with, too," Drescher said in a news conference July 13 announcing the strike.

Netflix is in production on Squid Game Season 2, having announced new cast members and confirmed a table read in June. Korean productions do not fall under the SAG-AFTRA/AMPTP contract.

Interviews, red carpets

In addition to production strikes, actors are not allowed to promote past or present works during the strike. Many films and TV shows completed press junkets prior to the strike, but actors are prohibited from attending fall film festivals like Venice, Telluride and Toronto.


Many of those festivals are hoping the strike resolves before it impacts their plans. Telluride had no comment and Venice did not immediately respond, but TIFF encouraged both sides to resume talks before its September event.

"The impact of this strike on the industry and events like ours cannot be denied," TIFF said in a statement emailed to UPI. "We will continue planning for this year's festival with the hope of a swift resolution in the coming weeks."

Film festivals that do not show studio movies can continue.

Tracey Adlai, founder of the Valley Film Festival, confirmed with SAG-AFTRA that independent films playing Aug. 1-8 in North Hollywood were produced outside the AMPTP contract and the fest received no sponsorship from AMPTP companies.

"I've been told SAG-AFTRA members can attend and participate/promote since their films and the festival are not affiliated with a struck company," Adlai told UPI in an email, adding that VFF stands in solidarity with both striking guilds.

"Guild representatives are also invited to use our platform to educate indie filmmakers," Adlai said.

Awards campaigns

Striking actors are also prohibited from campaigning for awards. Should the strike continue through September, actors would be prohibited from attending the Emmy Awards on Sept. 18.


The Television Academy has not determined how to proceed with the televised awards show.

"Like the rest of the industry, we hope there will be an equitable and timely resolution for all parties in the current guild negotiations," an academy representative told UPI in a statement. "We continue to monitor the situation closely with our partners at Fox."

While most studios canceled San Diego Comic-Con appearances in anticipation of the strike, regional fan conventions are continuing. Creation Entertainment, which holds such gatherings nationwide with stars of shows like The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural and Lucifer, said it does not fall under strike restrictions and continued to hold events featuring celebrity appearances.

Farflung economy

Local economies from Los Angeles to Atlanta and Vancouver that rely on ongoing productions expect to feel an impact from the work stoppage.

Fiona Famulak, president and CEO of the British Columbia Chamber of Commerce, said labor disputes "have direct and immediate impacts on workers and the businesses involved in the dispute, as well as the businesses and their employees that support their supply chains."

Creative BC lists four films in or starting production in July and August, including Final Destination 6, and nine series, TV movies and documentaries in 2023, including When Calls the Heart and The Recruit.


The Vancouver Economic Commission reported $4.8 billion in film, television, animation and visual effects spending in 2021. The Culver City Chamber of Commerce did not have specific production data but told UPI in an email that Sony and Amazon Studios had active production schedules before the strike.

The Georgia Film Office told UPI that 412 productions spent $4.4 billion in direct spending in the state in 2022.

SAG-AFTRA members rally with entertainment writers in NYC, LA

Members of the SAG-AFTRA actors union join writers on the picket lines in front of Netflix's corporate office in Hollywood, Calif., on August 3, 2023. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

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