Movies & TV / News

Deadpool 3, Venom 3, Mission: Impossible 8 Productions Shut Down Due to SAG-AFTRA Strike

July 15, 2023 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Ryan Reynolds Hugh Jackman Deadpool & Wolverine Image Credit: Marvel Studios

The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) declared a labor strike earlier this week against the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers (AMPTP), representing the major studios and streamers. As a result, some major film productions that were still in the midst of principal photography had to be shut down and halted. A number of major productions were already on pause due to the ongoing Writers Guild of America (AMPTP) strike against the AMPTP that was declared in early May. Per The Hollywood Reporter, some of the major Hollywood sequels that had to be shut down this week due to the strike include Marvel’s Deadpool 3, the Gladiator sequel from director Ridley Scott, and Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part Two. All the aforementioned projects are currently on hold until the strike is resolved.

The combined SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes have created an effective industry-wide shutdown on all scripted and acted entertainment. After the WGA strike began, productions with finished or locked scripts could commence filming, but multiple TV and film projects were already delayed due to the WGA strike. However, with the actors now striking, it brings a halt to the whole movie business. Shows that are not currently affected by the WGA or SAG-AFTRA strikes include “unscripted” reality TV programming and professional wrestling.

THR reports that studios are looking to move forward with what has been shot for some projects and making plans to resume production later on. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige and co-president Louis D’Esposito reportedly shared similar sentiments in an email that was sent to staff on Thursday (July 13). Marvel currently has multiple films and TV shows in post-production at the moment. Deadpool 3 was one Marvel Studios project that began filming earlier in May before it had to shut down.

In their joint email, Feige and D’Esposito wrote, “We recognize how much you’ve all done on your specific projects and it’s disappointing when carefully laid plans have to shift, but constant change is the nature of the production business, and our teams are no stranger to unexpected challenges and rising to meet them.” They continued, “We deeply appreciate all your efforts to make the best of the situation, and we can all hope that a new agreement will be finalized soon so we can resume the great work we have in process.”

Some studios reportedly had contingency plans in place in the event of an oncoming SAG-AFTRA strike. One source informed THR that they front-loaded scenes with a key actor for one of their films, knowing they would be unavailable in the fall due to a series commitment after a possible strike ended.

The THR reports notes that animation projects may commence, and animation productions are allowed to have their studio workers record temporary voices for upcoming projects that are being worked on. So, the temporary voices can be replaced with SAG-AFTRA talent at a later date. However, that may not be the case for animated features that are slated to be released in theaters in 2024, such as Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse, due out on March 29. Kung Fu Panda 4 is due out March 8. Both films are likely in a state where final dialogue needs to be recorded soon.

Interestingly enough, in June, Spider-Verse star Hailee Steinfeld told The Hollywood Reporter that she hadn’t recorded any dialogue yet for Beyond the Spider-Verse. Another artist who worked on the films indicated to Vulture that the threequel making its targeted March 2024 release date makes it highly unlikely. Coupled with both strikes, it seems very likely that Beyond the spider-Verse will be delayed further. Other animated features due out in 2024 include Despicable Me 4 on July 3 and Transformers One on September 13.

THR also confirmed the following features have definitely halted filming in front of their cameras:

* Deadpool 3 (Disney/Marvel Studios; Original release date: May 3, 2024)

Deadpool 3 was one of the projects Marvel Studios and Disney were able to start filming one with a finished script in May after the WGA strike started. Filming began in May with stars Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman. The rest of the cast features Matthew Macfayden, Emma Corrin, Stefan Kapicic, and Brianna Hildebrand. Shawn Levy directs Deadpool 3.

* Gladiator 2 (Paramount; Original release date: November 24, 2024)

THR reports that director Ridley Scott had finished about filming half of the upcoming sequel, which commenced earlier in June in Morocco and Malta. The film stars Paul Mescal, Pedro Pascal, Connie Nielsen, and Denzel Washington. There was an earlier stop in production in June after an accident hospitalized multiple members of the crew.

* Lilo & Stitch (Disney; release date TBA)

This is the live-action remake of the classic 2002 Disney animated feature. The film started filming in Hawaii earlier in April. The film stars Maia Kealoha as Lilo. THR reported earlier this year that Zach Galifianakis had also been cast in an unknown role.

* Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two (Paramount; Original release date: June 28, 2024)

THR notes that filming of the eighth installment of the film series was already on a pre-planned hiatus so star and producer Tom Cruise, writer-director Christopher McQuarrie, and the other stars could engage in a global press tour to promote Dead Reckoning Part One. Earlier this month, McQuarrie told Collider that the plan was to complete principal photography by early next year. It’s unknown when filming will pick up again.

* Venom 3 (Sony Pictures; release date TBA)

Sony reportedly started production in late June in Spain. The film stars Tom Hardy with writer Kelly Marcel also directing. The film also stars Juno Temple and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Another sequel that recently started filming before the SAG-AFTRA strike was Beetlejuice 2, with the return of director Tim Burton and star Michael Keaton. It was not mentioned in the THR report.

Additionally,Variety reports that HBO’s House of the Dragon will be allowed to continue its production and continue filming in the UK due to local union rules. The HBO cast primarily uses UK actors working under the local union, Equity. Under the Equity contracts, members of the union aren’t legally allowed to strike in solidarity with the US SAG-AFTRA union.

Production on Season 2 of house of the Dragon will reportedly proceed as scheduled. Equity U.K. is allowed to support SAG-AFTRA and its members by all lawful means. However, due to the UK’s strict union laws, the union can’t legally call a strike to support its US counterpart due to restrictions from the British legislation. The union also provided guidance to members on how they’d be able to continue to work on a production such as House of the Dragon.

The Game of Thrones spinoff show is based on George R.R. Martin’s book Fire & Blood. The second season started filming earlier in April at Leavesden Studios.

SAG-AFTRA is currently seeking changes in its contract with the AMPTP, which expired earlier this month, wanting improvements to actor residual pay, restrictions on usage of generative AI, and self-tape demands by studios.