Disney Could Delay These 2023 Movies Amid Actors' Strike

Disney reshuffled its movie release calendar in June with new dates for its Marvel, Star Wars, and Avatar sequels — and it may not be the studio's only release date shakeup this year. After the Writers Guild of America (WGA) failed to reach an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers (the AMPTP) — which represents the major studios, including Disney — writers went on strike on May 2nd. And on July 14th, nearly 160,000 members of the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) joined Hollywood's writers on the picket lines.

With actors barred from promoting their projects during the SAG strike, studios are weighing whether to push back titles with sidelined stars. Last week, Variety reported Warner Bros. Discovery is considering pushing Dune: Part Two (November 3rd), DC's Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (December 20th), and The Color Purple (December 25th) into 2024 rather than forego traditional campaigns without their starry casts who are restricted from publicizing their films in interviews, on red carpets, and even social media. 

According to Bloomberg, The Walt Disney Company is reviewing its slate and considering delaying:

  • Searchlight's Poor Things (September 8th), which reteams Oscar winner Emma Stone with The Favourite filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos and co-stars Mark Ruffalo and Willem Dafoe 
  • Searchlight's Next Goal Wins (November 17th), director Taika Waititi's true story-inspired soccer dramedy
  • Walt Disney Animation Studios' Wish (November 22nd), the animated film commemorating Disney's 100th anniversary and featuring the voices of Oscar winner Ariana DeBose and Chris Pine 
  • Searchlight's bodybuilder drama Magazine Dreams (December 8th), a predicted awards contender despite its controversial star Jonathan Majors

Like Warner Bros.' Dune 2 and The Color Purple, reasons for potentially delaying the films until after the double WGA-SAG strikes have ended are twofold: the studio would benefit from having their star-studded casts promote the films, and predicted awards favorites would be forced to campaign without actors at the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards.

The Haunted Mansion (July 28th) — which held its red carpet premiere last week without cast members, including LaKeith Stanfield, Rosario Dawson, Owen Wilson, Tiffany Haddish, Jared Leto, Danny DeVito, and Jamie Lee Curtis — is too far along in its marketing campaign to delay and is expected to release as planned, according to Bloomberg. The report comes just days after Disney's Marvel Studios released a new trailer and poster for The Marvels, its Captain Marvel sequel slated for November 10th. 

The outlet notes the delay discussions are at an early stage and any release date changes are dependent on the outcome of Disney's schedule review, according to people with knowledge of the situation.