The American Movie World is Collapsing

On the periphery of your consciousness, you are remotely aware of the fact that there is a strike in Hollywood. Maybe you know that the writers went on strike first, and after that the actors’ union. Regardless, the talent, and the studios are entrenched. The artists are over there <——- and the studios? ——-> that way. And never the twain shall meet.

This past week, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers went back to the bargaining table solely to try and convince the actors and writers to flip on the union. “Yes, sure you can strike, but let us hire like… I don’t know a couple writers per project.” or something. It was pretty appalling. And they just wanted to make the actors and writers like they were turning down a too good to be true offer. Pretty messed up. Hell, they even, – while at the table – lectured the unions about how amazing their initial, and only offer was.

But that? Just pissed off everyone that was picketing. And instead of crossing the lines and going back to work? They stocked the picket lines with water, food, and folding chairs. They aren’t going anywhere. As a result, the studios are now realizing the consequences of their actions.

As a result? Dune: Part Two is being bumped out (which I called would happen a month ago, but who’s counting?). They shoved it from November, all the way out to March. A full quarter. And with that one move – we now know that the entirety of the industry is completely losing their minds. They are so very, very nervous right now. But how do we know? Think about it, Dune isn’t a summer movie – it’s coming out this winter. Or is that fall? You get the idea. Pausing Dune today means that they are bears going into hibernation for the long term. They are wanting to smoke the talent out. They want to ride on the cash hog they earned, and crush the individuals starving on the lines. And yet, by setting the date at March, they’ve shown their cards. They have to attempt to salvage the movie and their investment, right? But doing so shows their hand. The only problem? The entirety of the striking actors guilds and writers guilds… they need to hold strong like a half year.

Can a mass of humanity, in need of rent, mortgages, food, the lot of it… can they hold out for 6 months in order to break the will of the more powerful movie houses? And literally, the only thing Warner Bros. Discovery is getting from the delay is the chance to parade Chalamet and Zendaya around for press events and other engagements. The movie is in the can. We already know that. It’s all really unbelievable to me. Ultimately, the studios are in a world of hurt, they have to have already realized this. And yet, many other “big” movies still haven’t slid their dates from December. So maybe the studios are still holding out hope?

What’s At Stake

Most of the discussion swirling around the strike centers on the use of scanning technologies for extras. I mean, that’s bad. OK. But extras make a pittance. There are larger aspects to the strike than this weird, Big Brother piece of tech. Not sure if you are aware, but when an actor negotiated their terms for participating in a movie they receive X amount of money for the initial film release. Let’s just say $1 million for simplicity of math sake. Then, 6 months after, the film got a DVD release, or VHS, or whatever depending on how far back you want to go. (Disney just announced it won’t be doing DVD releases anymore. Which is shocking, but a different topic of discussion.) And our esteemed actor, would get $500,000 for the DVD release. Then Paramount picked it up, or whatever… and they’d receive $250,000. And then like… I don’t know, it’d go on to the USA network where it was played at 2am, or what have you. You got it, $125,000. Generally anyway. That was the rule of thumb.

And now? Instead, our actor gets $1m for the initial, and then $300 when it flips over to Netflix… or Apple TV… or Hulu. Again, gross generalities going on here, but the overall sums are inline with reality. Now, the fact that this person made a cool mill then half a mill, makes you less sympathetic. But the vast majority of actors, the working class actors – not your Harrison Fords – make like $155,000 a year. So, maybe this movie gave them $50,000… those residuals for the different releases become critical for survival. Now the sums are $25k, $12k, etc. (Have you attempted to carve a life in California before? Los Angeles? hahah. I have. $155k might seem like an impressive amount until you see that a single wide trailer goes for a cool million plus. Again, not an exaggeration… literally attempted to purchase a trailer that was over a million. Or thought about it anyway.)

Basically, the Movie Landscape is Collapsing

Curious as to a list of some of the biggest movies impacted while in mid-production that have had to shutter?

  1. Gladiator 2
  2. Beetlejuice 2
  3. Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning 2
  4. Dead Pool 3
  5. Venom 3
  6. Juror #2
  7. Wicked
  8. Challengers (Zendaya, Mike Faist, and Josh O’Connor)
  9. Problemista (by A24)
  10. Minecraft (really? we need a minecraft movie?)
  11. The Movie Critic (Quentin Tarantino’s next film)
  12. Bad Boys 4
  13. Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse
  14. Untitled Ghostbusters: Afterlife Sequel
  15. Challengers
  16. Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire
  17. Kraven the Hunter
  18. The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim
  19. Poor Things
  20. They Listen — Sony (TBD)
  21. Untitled Dirty Dancing Sequel
  22. White Bird
  23. Untitled Brad Pitt F1 Film

Literally, there are fifty more I could list out. EVERYTHING that is coming in the next year or two is impacted. Shows, movies, documentaries. It’s a cinematic apocalypse that is happening right now, and no one seems to be realizing the sheer enormity of what is going on.

Edited by: CY