We all remember the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike that lasted 100 days (from late 2007 to early 2008) and cost Hollywood a couple of billion dollars in lost wages and revenue. Sure, plenty of movies went into production anyway so there would be at least some new movies, but without writers to do onset re-writes has the quality suffered?
For example, the recent James Bond film Quantum of Solace; writer Paul Haggis turned in the script right before the WGA strike began in November 2007, and the film started shooting soon after. Production was well underway by the time the strike ended, so it is possible they had some rewrites done, especially if there were any major reshoots.
The movie opened November 2008, and while our own Niall Browne gave it 4 out of 5 stars, Screen Rant’s owner and Editor-in-Chief Vic Holtreman had this to say:
“Too much action at the expense of story/character development. I thought they turned Bond into nothing but a revenge-crazed murderer. He was closer to The Punisher than 007.”
Of course, Vic also felt the directing of the action sequences wasn’t good at all: too many close-ups, fast-cutting and jerky camera work, something that was big for a while in films including Batman Begins, the first Transformers, and the latter Jason Bourne films. But the previous Bond film (Casino Royale) really blended great writing with terrific stunts and action set pieces.
Let’s move onto movies coming out this year. Terminator Salvation went into production as the WGA strike was ending, but that didn’t give the crew much time to do any major work on the screenplay before cameras rolled. I’m guessing that onset rewrites happened. We’ll see how the overall quality of the latest Terminator film is when it opens May 21, 2009.
And what about X-Men Origins: Wolverine? It may have shredded the box office with an $87 million opening weekend and Vic gave it 3 out of 5 stars, but the critics have ravaged it and fan word-of-mouth isn’t doing so great. I expect a major drop this coming weekend and that’s only partly because Star Trek is coming out. Could the quality of Wolverine suffered because of the WGA strike? I’d say yes, but we may never know because of the involvement of the studio, director, etc. And there were some expensive rewrites and reshoots done earlier this year.
Speaking of Star Trek, I believe its release date was bumped from December 2008 to May 2009 partly of the WGA strike. JJ Abrams and his writers couldn’t even touch the script when shooting began at the height of the strike, and I wonder if they delayed the film to do rewrites and reshoots?
Angels and Demons had to delay the start of production for months because the script just wasn’t up to par when the strike happened. I also think Thor and Ant-Man were delayed a year or two because of the strike, though it looks like an Ant-Man movie may not happen until after The Avengers.
Michael Bay worked on his own ideas for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen while the WGA strike happened. Most of it was probably visual effects set pieces, but once the strike ended, his three writers (Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Ehren Krueger) were holed up in a hotel to pound out the script in a short time to get the film ready for production.
We won’t know about the quality of some of these and other films until they open, but I do believe we’ll see some movies that went into production without the much-needed onset rewrites, or even a script that was ready to go before cameras.
What do you think? Have movies that have opened, or are coming out, suffered because of the WGA strike?
Source: Screen Rant