Ready to return to the studio

Ready to return to the studio

The entertainment industry is buzzing with excitement as Hollywood prepares to return to the studio. With the writers’ strike finally over, studios are eager to get back to work, though the ongoing SAG-AFTRA walkout still poses a challenge. The anticipation is palpable as major film and TV projects are poised to resume production, bringing fresh content to audiences who have been surviving on reruns and unscripted shows.

From “Star Trek” to “Superman: Legacy” and “Abbott Elementary” to “Wednesday,” every studio, network, and streaming service has a list of priority projects they hope to fast-track. The prolonged strike had threatened to make the 2023-24 broadcast season heavily reliant on unscripted shows and imported programs. Now, with the writers back, there’s a race to complete scripts and get cameras rolling.

Paramount is keen to have writers fine-tuning scripts for its “Star Trek” reboot and the adaptation of Tom Clancy’s “Rainbow Six.” Warner Bros. is eager for Matt Reeves to dive back into Gotham’s underworld with “The Batman” sequel. Projects like “Minecraft” and James Gunn’s “Superman: Legacy” have completed scripts and are ready to begin production in the spring, pending a deal with actors. Universal is also hopeful that the end of the writers’ strike will lead to a new draft of “Fast X: Part 2,” slated for an April 2025 release.

The priority is clear: finish what was started before the strike. Productions that were halted mid-way, like the sequel to “Gladiator,” “Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part Two,” and “Beetlejuice 2,” are ready to resume as soon as the actors’ strike ends. Other projects, such as “Twisters,” a sequel to the 1996 tornado thriller, were just beginning production when the strikes hit.

The rush to return to the studio will create logistical challenges. Finding soundstage space and locations will be tough, and there will be fierce competition for top talent. One production chief noted that everyone will be vying for the same directors and stars, leading to a supply-and-demand issue. Unlike before, when shooting schedules were staggered, now many projects will go into production simultaneously.

On the TV front, networks and streamers are focused on resuming long-running shows and big-budget freshman series that were in preproduction or already shooting. This approach minimizes the time needed to fill writers’ rooms or cast new roles. Shows like ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” Fox’s “9-1-1: Lone Star,” and Dick Wolf’s “Law & Order” franchises are top priorities. However, this could mean a hectic return-to-work schedule for writers and talent.

Networks are expected to move quickly, possibly experimenting with overlapping writing and shooting schedules. Any remaining gaps in the broadcast schedule for October and November might be filled with reruns or other creative solutions, like CBS airing reruns of “Yellowstone.”

HBO is eager to bring fans back to Westeros with the second season of “House of the Dragon,” targeting a summer 2024 premiere. While “House of the Dragon” managed to wrap filming during the strikes, other HBO shows like “The White Lotus,” “Euphoria,” and “The Last of Us” will be the focus in 2024.

Netflix is prioritizing the second season of “Wednesday” and the final season of “Stranger Things,” which needs to be filmed before its young stars age out of their roles. TV development budgets for 2024 are expected to be trimmed as studios work through the backlog created by the strike.

On the movie side, some titles targeted for 2024 or 2025 releases will face delays. This is a concern for cinemas, which have struggled with a lack of new releases due to the pandemic and now the strikes. The rush to restart production could taper off as studios, networks, and streamers trim the number of projects in development, adjusting to a fundamentally changed industry.

The Peak TV bubble was already deflating before the strikes, and the employment landscape will be leaner once production resumes. While there is hope for an influx of deals and opportunities, industry insiders are tempering expectations.

As Hollywood gears up to return to the studio, the excitement is tempered with the reality of the challenges ahead. The industry is ready to move forward, but the path to normalcy will require careful navigation and strategic planning.

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