US actors’ strike impacting red carpet glamour

Margot Robbie’s global tour of Barbie outfits skipped New York. Instead, a screening of the doll-inspired mega-franchise took place due to the actors’ strike.

While this might have been considered a PR setback, it went largely unnoticed amidst the extensive year-long, $100 million all-pink marketing campaign that led to the film’s impressive $155 million US opening weekend.

Similarly, Oppenheimer’s US premiere faced a boycott from its stars Cillian Murphy, Florence Pugh, Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, and Robert Downey Jr. As a result, director Christopher Nolan walked the red carpet alone to a screening dedicated to “celebrating the crew and craftspeople who contributed to making this landmark film,” as stated by Universal Pictures.

Apart from the red carpet, the stars of this summer’s blockbuster epics, including Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, which premiered a week prior to Barbie and Oppenheimer, are also prohibited from appearing on TV shows, engaging in interviews, or promoting their projects on social media under the guidelines from the Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) during the ongoing strike, which could last until January.

Despite the strike’s impact on major films, the Barbie movie successfully navigated its opening weekend without much trouble. According to London-based PR agent Mark Borkowski, it could be detrimental to other big epics like Indiana Jones and Mission: Impossible.

While these movies barely managed to proceed as planned, Barbie seems unaffected by the strike, as evidenced by the overwhelming presence of pink-themed promotions and enthusiastic audiences in Leicester Square.

The impact on summer blockbusters appears relatively minimal at the moment, possibly due to Hollywood studios and streamers successfully postponing the strike action by a few weeks.

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This delay allowed Cannes to proceed as planned and ensured that the studios’ summer blockbusters could launch without significant disruption, despite being targeted by striking actors and writers over compensation and AI concerns.

During the previous week, Sag-Aftra leaders disclosed their progress in negotiations with the companies before the contract talks came to a halt.

According to their statement, “While we made efforts on certain matters, they consistently avoided genuinely addressing the most critical issues right from the beginning.”

On the other hand, the studios, represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), placed the blame on Sag-Aftra, accusing them of being the first to walk away from the discussions.

The effects of the production shutdown are already being felt by numerous non-union workers in creative fields, including set designers, stylists, hair and makeup artists.

Sag-Aftra has now released guidelines for social influencers, even though it does not represent them, on how to operate during the strike. These guidelines include advising them to refrain from promoting studio projects.

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