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What the end of the actors strike means for movie theaters

Henry Epp Nov 10, 2023
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Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya, stars of "Dune: Part Two," at a convention in April. The "Dune" sequel's release was delayed to next year due to the actors strike. Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images

What the end of the actors strike means for movie theaters

Henry Epp Nov 10, 2023
Heard on:
Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya, stars of "Dune: Part Two," at a convention in April. The "Dune" sequel's release was delayed to next year due to the actors strike. Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images
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A lot of Hollywood actors and studio executives breathed a sigh of relief this week when SAG-AFTRA, the actors’ union, reached a tentative contract agreement with major studios — ending a strike that began in July. But the strike’s effect on movie theaters could linger well into next year.

Tim Handren is CEO of Santikos Entertainment, a chain of movie theaters in San Antonio, Texas. He’s been warily watching a snag in his supply chain.

But “there’s now a foreseeable end to the disruption in the supply chain that’s been going on for the last six months,” he said.

The supply is new movies coming to theaters. Production has been paused for most films, and some releases have already been pushed back months — like the sequel to “Dune,” noted Matthew Belloni, who covers the industry for Puck News.

“‘Dune’ was supposed to come out last weekend and make a bunch of money,” he said. “It didn’t. And it was one of the lowest grossing weekends of the year.”

Since studios are scrambling to restart productions, he said there could be more disappointing weekends ahead.

Still, Tim Handren in San Antonio is optimistic. The success of movies like “Barbie” this past summer showed audiences do want to come back to theaters.

“When there’s content that’s coming out, people are flocking to the movie theaters as they always have,” he said.

The question is: Will there be enough content to keep that going?

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