Following Thursday’s announcement that SAG-AFTRA is joining WGA on the picket lines, thereby barring both on-camera work and promotional activities for actors, the red carpet cancellations have begun.
The Special Ops: Lioness premiere, scheduled for July 18 in Los Angeles with stars Zoe Saldaña, Laysla De Oliveira, Nicole Kidman, Morgan Freeman and Michael Kelly, was the first carpet to be scrapped, followed by Oppenheimer‘s red carpet in New York, which was set for July 17.
“In support of the ongoing SAG strike, the filmmakers of Oppenheimer will not be proceeding with the NY premiere as originally planned and will instead screen the movie to celebrate the crew and craftspeople who contributed to making this landmark film,” Universal said in a statement.
Among the events still on the calendar (for now) include Disney’s Haunted Mansion premiere at Disneyland on Saturday, which the studio is moving forward with sans its stars, and the Los Angeles premiere of Minx on July 17.
The strike began at midnight on Friday, with actors taking to the picket line that morning. According to the guidelines, the union’s 160,000 affected members are prohibited from all principal on-camera and off-camera work, such as voice-acting and narration, as well as participating in promotional activities including premieres, interviews, festivals, FYC events, awards shows and podcasts. The London premiere of Oppenheimer was barely completed in time after Universal moved the carpet time up by an hour to allow the starry cast to take photos and do interviews before the strike went into effect. Stars Emily Blunt, Matt Damon and Cillian Murphy exited the event before the screening when the strike was called.
SAG-AFTRA announced the work stoppage after negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers faltered on Wednesday night. The group representing studios and streamers said it “presented a deal that offered historic pay and residual increases, substantially higher caps on pension and health contributions, audition protections, shortened series option periods, and a groundbreaking AI proposal that protects actors’ digital likenesses.” SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher called the offer “insulting and disrespectful of our massive contributions to this industry,” criticizing, “how they plead poverty when giving hundreds of millions of dollars to their CEOs. It’s disgusting. Shame on them. They stand on the wrong side of history at this very moment.”
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