After rumors that the studios would start pulling films from the fall film festivals due to challenges posed by the SAG-AFTRA strike, which prohibits talent from attending the festival or promoting any of their films in any capacity (interviews, red carpet, etc.), we now have our first real casualty. Luca Guadagnino’s “Challengers,” starring Zendaya, Mike Faist & Josh O’Connor, has been pulled from the festival and given a new release date of April 26th, 2024.
The film was initially set to open the 2023 Venice Film Festival, where it would’ve played out of competition. “Comandante” starring Pierfrancesco Favino will serve as the new Venice Film Festival opening title. The 80th edition of the Venice Film Festival runs August 30th – September 9th.
“Challengers” marks Guadagnino’s first U.S. studio movie after a career that has included “Call Me By Your Name,,” “Suspiria,” and last year’s “Bones And All.” With rumors reported yesterday by Variety claiming that Warner Bros. was thinking of delaying its remaining 2023 films, the possibility may become a reality unless a miracle deal is reached between SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
Venice is supposed to be announcing its lineup on July 26th. Previously guessed titles we predicted would show up included “Maestro,” “Poor Things,” “Ferrari,” and “Priscilla.” While the latter has been confirmed for Venice due to its NYFF announcement the other day as a North American premiere (implying its worldwide premiere will be at the Lido), everything is now up in the air.
This could all be resolved if the AMPTP actually decided to come to the table and paid SAG-AFRTRA/WGA what they’re owed but I suppose that would be too simple in their eyes and now, we’re all suffering for it as a result. If this continues with other studios (as we just learned with A24 and “Problemista,” per Deadline) we could be looking at another year like 2020 where the film landscape was shrunk due to the pandemic and only streaming titles a new select indie films competed for awards season.
What do you think of this news? Do you think more films will be pulled from the fall film festivals and have their release dates delayed? When do you think a deal will be struck between SAG-AFTRA/WGA and the AMPTP? Please let us know in the comments section below or on our Twitter account.