When the covid-19 pandemic delayed the releases of major movies, there was nothing the studios could do to stop it. Genuine health risks meant theaters had to close and without theaters, there wasn’t anywhere to screen new movies. Now movie delays are starting to happen again—only this time, the studios could very easily solve it by coming to terms with the striking WGA and SAG-AFTRA unions, but are deciding not to.
Days after the upcoming Zendaya film Challengers moved from September 2023 to April 2024, and news broke that Warner Bros. was considering delaying some of its upcoming films, such as Dune: Part Two, Bloomberg reports that Disney is having those same conversations. First, it’s already moved the upcoming Frankenstein-inspired film Poor Things starring Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo, and Willem Dafoe from September 8 to December 8. Beyond that, the Mouse is reportedly considering delaying several other upcoming movies such as the animated film Wish, the Taika Waititi comedy Next Goal Wins, and Jonathan Majors’ Magazine Dreams (which has a whole other set of issues too).
Those four, along with Haunted Mansion, Gareth Edwards’ The Creator, Marvel Studios’ The Marvels, and Kenneth Branagh’s A Haunting in Venice, comprise the rest of Disney’s 2023 schedule—but it seems like, with Mansion being released this week, new Marvels and Venice trailers just coming out, and Creator being promoted at the recent San Diego Comic-Con, maybe not everything moves.
That’s a lot to take in but here’s the biggest thing to remember: the studios are digging in their heels. Even a consideration of delays to ready-to-release movies (which has only happened in two cases so far, to be clear) is an acknowledgment that the studios don’t see an end to the strike for at least a few months, and that they know they need the film’s actors to promote the movies to have any chance of success. Which, you’d hope, would be an incentive to be like, “Hey, let’s figure this out, make everyone happy, and get back to business.” Only, this is the opposite. It’s studios saying “We’d rather do nothing and lose more money than give actors and writers a fair deal.”
Oh, and let’s not forget, back in June Disney already delayed almost all of its 2024 and 2025 movies because of the writers’ strike. The company was already looking ahead with a “fuck the workers” mentality. Now it’s just trickling down, and there’s no sense of how long it will continue. We’ll keep an eye on these dates to see if or when any of them move. But for now, it seems the biggest corporations are getting ready for the long haul.
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