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‘Barbenheimer’ Is a Huge Hollywood Moment and Maybe the Last for a While

By: Daniel Yao

On Friday Hollywood actors' strike enters its one-week mark after the members of SAG-AFTRA joined Writers Guild. Strikes may last for months, affecting new film production and scheduled releases. Actors were told not to promote films during the strike.

“It’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times,” said Michael Moses, who oversaw the release of “Oppenheimer.” He noted that in the past few weeks, as the “Barbenheimer” hype grew, as well as the animosity between the guilds and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the organization that bargains on behalf of the studios.

Already, some upcoming films have had their release plans modified as a result of the SAG-AFTRA strike. The Helen Mirren drama “White Bird” and A24’s Julio Torres comedy “Problemista” were supposed to launch in August and are now without an official release date.

While Hollywood braces itself for the next strike-related shoe to drop, Scott Sanders is feeling an unwelcome case of deja vu.

As one of the producers of a new movie-musical adaptation of “The Color Purple,” Sanders has spent months poring over a meticulous release strategy for the Fantasia Barrino-led film, due in theaters on Christmas Day. But all of that hard work could be dashed if Warner Bros. delays the movie, as it did three years ago with another Sanders-produced musical: “In the Heights” was pushed a full year to June 2021 because of the pandemic, and then released simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max.

The hype around “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” could rekindle a love for moviegoing, Sanders said, but there might be few titles left to capitalize on it. “Are we going to keep the momentum going from this weekend?” he said. “Or are we going to suddenly pull the emergency stop in the next month or two and go back to square one again?”

The worst case that could happen is that every studio existing decides to move their fourth-quarter movies into next year. Then what happens?

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