The Hollywood strikes have been going on for quite a while—specifically Day 38 for SAG-AFTRA, and Day 111 for the WGA. During this time, most actors and writers haven’t been doing promo for any project they’re involved with that’s been released out into the world. It’s the price they’re willing to pay in order to get what they want, and studios are only now finding out that no promo from the talent and key creatives hits them just as hard, if not harder.
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Sources speaking to the Hollywood Reporter claim that a lack of star promo is visibly hurting films that have recently hit theaters. Since talent isn’t out there telling audiences to see their flick, box office prospects for films are reportedly being hurt by as much as 15%; as an example, the outlet cited the late July premiere for Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. That film’s cast includes big stars Ayo Edebiri, Seth Rogen, and Jackie Chan, along with its four teen leads, Micah Abbey, Nicolas Cantu, Shamon Brown Jr. and Brady Noon. But the strike meant only director Jeff Rowe could attend, and one source called the situation “bizarre. Can you imagine what the group photo would have been like on the carpet?”
Because of the stars’ inability to promote the film, it’s speculated that Mutant Mayhem will have missed out on $7-$10 million from its domestic box office. While social media posts and ads obviously play an important part in getting a movie out there, the actual star with their own individual fanbase helps substantially more. A marketing source at an unnamed studio called stars being unable to do publicity “a huge detriment to the overall campaign. You lose the cultural impact of having talent talk about the film. Some movies wouldn’t have worked anyway, but they had more of a shot.”
July’s Disneyland premiere of the Haunted Mansion remake indicated that studios may not be able to really survive without their stars and writers doing promo, and this recent news further confirms it. While studios are considering (or already have) bumping some of their upcoming releases to 2024, that can only do so much. Some movies like Dune: Part Two greatly benefit from the star power of their leading cast and the promo they provide, especially if said films are also being looked at to potentially bring home awards. So unless they want to keep playing stupid games, there’s really only one smart way to end this.
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