The film industry is witnessing a significant shift as Sony Pictures, one of the major Hollywood studios, has announced changes to its theatrical calendar due to ongoing actors and writers strikes. The first major casualties of these strikes are Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse and Kraven the Hunter, which have been removed from their spring 2024 release dates.
Sony’s decision to delay these films is a clear indication of the impact of the strikes that began on July 14, led by the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA). The strikes have resulted in a ripple effect, causing disruptions in the release calendar for both this year and the next.
Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse Would’ve Likely Been Layed Anyways
Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse is the most significant strike casualty to date, given its status as part of a successful franchise. The film was initially set to open over the Easter holidays next year on March 29, 2024. While claiming it is due to the strikes and actors being unable to do any voice work, there were already rumblings that the film’s release date was unreasonably early. Considering how ambitious and ground-breaking the animation is, it likely would have missed that date anyway.
The Spider-Verse features are massive undertakings, and the pressure to deliver is immense, especially after the original Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) won the best Oscar for animation and became a genre-breaking hit. The strikes have further complicated the production process, leading to inevitable delays.
In addition to Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse, Sony has also shifted the release plans for the August racing film Gran Turismo. The studio is now planning to open the movie wide on August 25, with sneak previews on its original weekend date of August 11, and on the weekend of August 18. This move is an attempt to market the movie without its stars, such as Orlando Bloom and David Harbour, who are unable to promote it due to the strikes.
Kraven is Delaying His Hunt
Kraven the Hunter, featuring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, has also been moved from its October release date to Aug. 30, 2024. Sony has decided not to release the R-rated action film without a full marketing and publicity push revolving around Taylor-Johnson, who plays the Spider-Man villain.
The strikes have also affected the studio’s Karate Kid movie, which has been relocated from June 7, 2024, to Dec. 13, 2024. The project’s development has stalled due to the strikes, and a filmmaker for the project has yet to be announced.
Sony’s decision to rearrange its schedule could be a sign that the unrest gripping Hollywood is not expected to be resolved soon. Other studios are still in a wait-and-see mode regarding their big fall and winter tentpoles, but Sony’s move could prompt a rapid change in this stance.
The strikes have come at a precarious time for the film industry. While the box office is experiencing a historic burst of growth thanks to films like Barbie and Oppenheimer, the strikes threaten to turn this heat into a cold fall and winter. The industry is now bracing for what could be a significant disruption to the film release calendar, with Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse and Kraven being the first of potentially many films to be delayed.
Considering this all depends on studio heads becoming decent people and admitting they are wrong, expect much more news like this to drop.
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) are encouraging supporters to assist both online and in person. Those who wish to join a local picket line or donate food and water to those on strike can refer to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA picket schedules for local event timings. They can also coordinate with strike captains on-site to determine the most effective ways to provide in-person support.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter