In the wake of the writers’ strike conclusion, Hollywood is poised for a seismic shift in its production landscape. Studios are gearing up to resurrect a slew of priority film and TV projects, breathing new life into stalled productions such as “Stranger Things,” “Euphoria,” and “House of the Dragon.” However, the industry now faces the daunting task of navigating a logistical labyrinth, compounded by the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike.
With the end of the writers’ strike, Hollywood’s creative engines are revving up once more. Studios, networks, and streaming platforms have a bevy of priority projects they’re eager to fast-track back into development and production. A prolonged strike would have left audiences dependent on reruns and imported content from overseas markets, underscoring the urgency of resuming production.
Several major film projects are poised for a swift return to preproduction. Paramount seeks to fine-tune scripts for the reboot of “Star Trek” and Tom Clancy’s “Rainbow Six,” while Warner Bros. hopes to see Matt Reeves dive back into Gotham’s underworld with “The Batman” sequel. Projects like “Minecraft” and James Gunn’s “Superman: Legacy” are ready to commence production once deals with actors are secured. Universal, meanwhile, anticipates a new draft for “Fast X: Part 2,” slated for a 2025 release.
Elsa Ramo, managing partner at Ramo Law, emphasizes that priorities lie in projects that were near greenlight status before the strike, with a focus on completing what was started.
Resuming Stalled Productions
The end of the strike brings good news for productions stuck in limbo. Once the SAG-AFTRA strike concludes, production can resume on major films like the “Gladiator” sequel, “Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part Two,” “Beetlejuice 2,” “Juror No. 2,” “Deadpool 3,” and “Twisters.” These projects had varying degrees of filming completed before the strike halted production.
The impending flood of production presents a logistical challenge. Finding soundstage space and shooting locations will be a fierce competition, while securing top talent may become equally daunting. As one production chief notes, the industry faces a supply-and-demand imbalance as everyone rushes to produce movies and shows simultaneously.
In the television realm, networks and streamers are keen to pick up where they left off with long-running shows and high-budget freshman series already in preproduction or filming. This approach minimizes the need for extensive writers’ room and casting efforts. Top-priority projects, such as “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Abbott Elementary,” “9-1-1: Lone Star,” and Dick Wolf’s franchises, are ready to roll as soon as actors endorse deals. This expedited return to work may lead to compressed writing and shooting schedules.
New Developments and Experiments
While long-running series are fast-tracked, networks may experiment with additional content to fill gaps in their schedules. These “wild little experiments” may include reruns of successful shows or unconventional programming.
HBO is prioritizing the second season of “House of the Dragon” for a summer 2024 premiere and considering a third season for the “Game of Thrones” prequel. Projects like “The White Lotus,” “Euphoria,” and “The Last of Us” will also take precedence over new developments in 2024.
Netflix is actively working on scripts for the second season of “Wednesday” and the fifth and final season of “Stranger Things.” The urgency is driven by the need to film “Stranger Things” before its young stars outgrow their high school roles.
TV development budgets for 2024 are expected to be significantly reduced as the industry grapples with a backlog caused by the five-month strike hiatus. On the movie front, some titles slated for 2024 or 2025 releases may face delays, exacerbating challenges for cinemas that have struggled with a lack of new releases due to pandemic-related disruptions.
As production ramps up, Hollywood will adapt to a transformed landscape, with fewer projects in development. The era of Peak TV had already been waning before the strikes, and the post-strike landscape will likely be more streamlined. However, expectations of an immediate influx of deals and opportunities may be tempered, as industry insiders remain cautious about the road ahead.
The future of Hollywood production is poised on the precipice of change, with the industry bracing for both challenges and opportunities as it emerges from the shadow of the strikes.
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