After weeks of speculation, Warner Bros. Discovery committed to the folly of pushing Dune: Part Two to March 15, 2024. So far, all other WBD releases are remaining where they are on the calendar, which means the other Timothee Chalamet flick this winter, Wonka, is still coming out in December. But alas, the Chalamet double bill Wonkune is no more. Regardless of strike status and whether or not Chalamet can do press, Dune moves on while we are doomed to see Wonka this winter. Truly, the worst of all outcomes.
I do wonder if this is some sort of roundabout compliment for Zendaya, though. Her other film this year, Challengers, already moved to April 2024. It’s like these distributors are saying they can’t launch their films without Zendaya’s direct involvement, that she is such a value add they’d rather delay the films and eat the overhead on production loan interest than open a movie without her. I realize there are other people involved in these films, but Zendaya is the common denominator, and Warners is still willing to drop Wonka without Timmy on the press line, so I am choosing to see this as proof of Zendaya’s power.
Speaking of strike stuff, though, yesterday Lainey mentioned the strike waivers allowing some productions and press appearances to go on during the double strike. I got a few emails from people asking about these waivers and how they work, so here’s a quick rundown.
The strike waivers are for independent productions, here defined as productions NOT overseen by the AMPTP. Priscilla, for instance, obtained a waiver to go ahead with a gala premiere at the Venice Film Festival. Priscilla is produced by indie darling A24, which is NOT a member of the AMPTP. A24 also has waivers to continue production on David Lowrey’s new film, Mother Mary, starring Anne Hathaway, and Death of a Unicorn, starring Paul Rudd and Jenna Ortega. By obtaining these waivers, A24 has formed an interim agreement with SAG-AFTRA to keep working and not be considered “scabbing”.
The AMPTP represents 32 companies, any company outside that group can apply for a waiver. The productions with waivers are independent, and often of such low financial resources that a delay could kill the project. While the waivers have been controversial—some believe the strikes should be a total work stoppage across the board—I think they demonstrate that actors and writers, in fact, DO want to work. They just want to be paid fairly for that work, and the companies willing to do so are, indeed, at work right now. Whenever someone starts playing the “people just don’t want to work” jingle, I just point to A24 and their waivers. The unions are willing to make deals. They just want to make FAIR deals.
As for the status of the double strike, the latest round of negotiations between the WGA and the AMPTP seems to be going rather badly. But remember, it doesn’t have to be like this. The AMPTP could end this right now by simply agreeing to pay people for their labor, and to put reasonable guard rails around AI until we can figure out how best to utilize it in creative industry (it’s not going away, it WILL be part of our working lives, we just have to figure out how to integrate it without destroying people’s livelihoods). They are clinging to fractions of cents on the dollar, boasting about saving money while shooting their own industry in the foot when it was JUST getting back on its feet after an unprecedented interruption. It’s so short-sighted it makes me scream. I’m starting to think the people running the studios aren’t very smart.
Here are John Turturro, Tommy Dorfman, and Linda Cardellini picketing yesterday.