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SAG-AFTRA strike shows the impact of star promotions – and lack thereof

After over a month, the impact of WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes is beginning to show in Hollywood’s bottom line.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, industry insiders see “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” missing out on $7-10 million at the box office due a lack of promotion by striking cast members – which includes the voices of Seth Rogen, Jackie Chan, Maya Rudolph, and Giancarlo Esposito to name a few.

Recent releases “Haunted Mansion,” “Blue Beetle” and “Meg 2: The Trench” are also expected to underperform due to lackluster publicity – not to mention the delays of upcoming films such as “Challengers” and “Gran Turismo,” and suspension of production on “Beetlejuice 2.” Even Warner Bros.’ much-anticipated “Dune: Part 2” could see a pushback from the Nov. 3 release, though the studio remains hesitant to do so. According to the THR report, movies are losing up to 15 percent of their potential earnings.

It’s a stark financial whiplash after the historic double-debut of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” both of which benefited from significant promotional work before the SAG-AFTRA strike began.

The terms of WGA and SAG-AFTRA membership bar members from promotional work for productions targeted by the strike. That means no interviews, no group photos on the red carpet, not even social media posts pertaining to struck films.

As Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk – also on strike) might’ve said, the strikes are hitting the studios where they live.

“The inability of stars to actively participate in the promotion of their films has definitely set the industry on edge,” said box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian to THR.

And financial impacts aside, a recent Data for Progress poll of 1,124 American voters showed that 67 percent supported the strikes, extending across party lines and even including those with unfavorable opinions of labor unions. Meanwhile, only 18 percent of those polled opposed the strikes.

The poll also found that most respondents “overwhelmingly agree” with the specific demands of WGA and SAG-AFTRA, and 59 percent have unfavorable opinions of Hollywood studios for rejecting their demands.

(Photo by Janine and Jim Eden | CC BY 2.0)


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