Echoing sentiments shared by the overall industry, AMC Theaters CEO Adam Aron discussed the ongoing WGA strike in sympathetic terms while assuring investors that the impact on the theatrical pipeline would be minimal at worst.
“We’re very sympathetic to the real problems that exist for members of the Writers Guild,” stated Aron in Friday’s earnings call. “Streaming has changed the landscape of television, changed the economics of what writers earn. We are hopeful that the Hollywood producers and the Writers Guild can work in good faith to craft a solution that works for all parties.”
In sentiments that were echoed by Cinemark CEO Sean Gamble who also had a quarterly earnings reveal and conference call on Friday, Aron noted that only a long strike by screenwriters would disrupt the cinematic pipeline, be it theatrical releases or films intended for streaming. Many upcoming films have wrapped production and all parties in Hollywood did their best to finish up writing-related responsibilities prior to the pre-strike deadline.
“If this is a short strike — I mean months — its impact will mostly be felt on television programming,” continued Aron. “The movies for 2023 and 2024 have pretty much been written. In many cases, they’ve already been filmed. And I think only a very prolonged writers’ strike would have a material impact on the movie industry or AMC.”
Cinemark’s CEO emphasized that any impact would depend on the length of the strike. He argued that “Our studio partners had been planning for this,” he said. In the past, some of the longer strikes had “some impact,” but the overall disruption was “fairly limited.” He stated that the majority of films this year and next are “unlikely to be materially affected.”
While there were several high-profile tentpoles that filmed mid-strike during the 100-day 2007/2008 work stoppage (to divisive artistic results), the likes of “Quantum of Solace” and “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” opened on time and were huge commercial successes.
That’s a sentiment echoed by almost every facet of the industry. While television-related work stoppages will have an immediate impact due to the work stoppage, the theatrical and streaming feature film pipeline should be unabated as long as the strike doesn’t last more than six months.