Hollywood marketing wrestles with a no-star headache

Hollywood flounders sans stars

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The Future. With actors on strike, top talent is on the picket line instead of on the press tour. That’s a bummer for stars who were hoping to raise their profiles and support their work, but an even bigger bummer for studios who rely on the PR to open their movies. With a long strike likely ahead that’ll cripple the exposure generated by the fall festival season (Toronto, Venice, Telluride), companies may decide to push releases to next year when they can be given the attention they need.

Movies have a hard time capturing public attention without stars to promote them.

  • Hollywood got a small taste of that when Warner Bros. had to sit Ezra Miller out of The Flash due to personal behavior… and the movie flopped.
  • Now, with the strike, actors are barred from doing any PR for struck companies, which include nearly every studio and streamer (A24 is an exception).
  • So, without actors (and writers), studios have to put the burden solely on directors, as long as they’re not also writers — a heavy lift for original films.
  • Even late-night shows like The Tonight Show and tastemaking live productions like SNL have gone dark with the writers all on the picket line.

While streamers like Netflix and AppleTV+ don’t really do much marketing (unless they’re stumping for Oscars), companies that rely on theatrical revenue are dependent on the momentum created by press tours to open their films. 

With the box office still in recovery mode, every bit of exposure counts — so much so that Tom Cruise even tried to intervene in the negotiations. But only a deal that properly addresses all actors’ concerns will put the press cycle back in rotation.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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