Potential strike already affecting film biz

Fri Jun 13, 2008 8:26am EDT
 
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By Gregg Kilday

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - As the clock ticks ever closer to the June 30 end of the Screen Actors Guild's contract, the industry is nervously contemplating the possibility of yet another strike -- even as it admits that, at least in terms of film production, a de facto strike already exists.

The Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers (AMPTP), in what could be characterized as its lack-of-progress report issued Thursday, argued that a de facto strike "limiting the green-lighting of features and disrupting pilot production" already has begun. As one talent attorney observed: "No one is doing anything that finishes after June 30, (and) nobody's starting anything now. There is the impact of a strike already."

The threat of a stoppage has had an impact on production schedules at the major studios, which pushed a slew of projects into production back in April in order to complete filming by June 30.

DreamWorks is wrapping both John Hamburg's "I Love You, Man" and Peter Jackson's "The Lovely Bones" this week, while Paramount is aiming to finish principal photography during in the next two weeks on its untitled Wayans Bros. comedy, "G.I. Joe" and Martin Scorsese's "Shutter Island," starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Warners is finishing up shooting on Steven Soderbergh's "The Informant," its Seth Rogen-starring "Observe and Report" and the action pic "Ninja Assassin." Universal is racing the clock on "Land of the Lost," starring Will Ferrell. Disney's "Race to Witch Mountain," "When in Rome" and "High School Musical 3" are on track to be finished by month's end. And Columbia/MGM's latest Bond adventure "Quantum of Silence" is set to wrap next week.

United Artists is squeezing in the additional footage it's shooting on the Tom Cruise starrer "Valkyrie" before the witching hour strikes.

CONTINGENCY PLANS

At the same time, a number of movies aiming for key 2009 release dates decided to risk potential disruption by moving forward anyway.

Columbia's "Angels and Demons," the follow-up to "The Da Vinci Code," already was forced to postpone production once when writer Akiva Goldsman could not turn in a script polish during the writers' strike. With a release date moved from December 19 to May 15, 2009, the film began shooting this month, with Tom Hanks and director Ron Howard on location in Rome. Crossing its fingers, Columbia is calculating that if a strike does force a shutdown, production can resume in time to make the spring release date.   Continued...

 
<p>The Hollywood Sign is seen between palm trees and snow dusted mountains in Los Angeles in this January 7, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>