Did The Writers Strike Hurt This Summer’s Movies?

Published 6 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:24 pm,

strike Did The Writers Strike Hurt This Summers Movies?

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.

transformers 2 trailer scene Did The Writers Strike Hurt This Summers Movies?

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

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  1. Of course they have. Just look at the TV shows that were canceled or will be canceled because people lost interest in them due to no new episodes. The same thing happens to movies just on a much grander scale. Once a project gets green lit, it is very hard to undo it. So basically, when a studio says go, they’ve already got a ridiculous amount of time and money invested and they won’t just waste that even if there are no rewrites available.

    A strike of any type hurts everyone involved in the industry on both sides and the customer as well, who’s choices are limited and the options that are available suffer in quality.

  2. Very possible because in my opinion there were to many mistakes in X-Men canon and I am not picky about canon. If I notice then it must be bad. The Star Trek movie isn’t meant to go exactly along with Trek canon so the jury is still out for me. I do believe it will be better than Wolverine but won’t open with the same box office numbers. What you stated about Terminator Salvation is cause for concern but I still think it will be the best movie this summer. Judging by the new Transformers movie might be a big letdown. Bumblebee never cried! That’s just silly!

  3. wow that pic of megatron looks badass

  4. Hmmm, I never thought about that before. I did notice that in Quantum of Solace there was less character development and it didn’t seem to be as smooth of a movie as Casino Royale, but it was still pretty good. That could have easily have been the writers and director having trouble making a movie matching up the the previous. I’ve heard nothing bad about the writing for Star Trek so I’m not worried about that movie, and Jonah Nolan is one of the screenwriters for Terminator: Salvation so I have faith that movie will be amazing, my guess for movie of the year in fact, and Transformers 2 will probably have the same type of dialogue as the first one. Not great, well not even good, but ok enough so that it doesn’t really deter you from watching it.

  5. Actually the Star Trek production went normally. They spent a little extra time on post, but the shooting schedule stayed the same. They only pushed it to May because they were afraid of having a week 2009 summer.

  6. No way to know.
    Interesting question though .

  7. I think it’s a real possibility the strike had an effect, at least if you look at Wolverine. the script was incredibly shoddy. For example:

    * One would think that escaping from Stryker’s mutant prison would be a big deal, yet no one seems interested in hunting Gambit down. Except when Logan manages to track him down “just like that,” all of the sudden Victor shows up. And still doesn’t apparently care about Gambit, who by the way, is the only mutant in the world who can blow the lid of Stryker’s operation.

    * Why does Victor kill and behead a wolverine in the woods and leaves it for Logan to find? Logan didn’t start calling himself Wolverine at that point in time.

    * How come Wolverine with his super-enhanced animal-like senses can’t tell Kayla is still alive? I mean, the movie admits that the drug merely slowed down her heart tremendously, but didn’t stop it.

    * So Wolverine was shot in the head a bunch of times with adamantium bullets. Presumably the writers knew this would permanently leave a bunch of entry and exit holes in his skull since adamantium doesn’t heal and can’t be deformed once solidified from liquid form.

    * In the New Orleans fight scene between Logan and Victor, just before the fight starts, Wolverine puts an elbow into Gambit’s face, knocking him out. A few minutes later, Gambit comes racing over the rooftops from some distance away to bring down his staff of power on them. What – did Gambit get up, run back to his apartment, grab his staff, and bound back to the fight?

    * For a working nuke plant, TMI sure didn’t seem to be working in any of the shots. I mean, you have one of the cooling towers collapsing, but no meltdown alarms going off, no workers running around in panic. Heck, if you think about it, working nuclear plants have vast amounts of steam constantly venting out of the cooling towers because (drum roll) nuclear reactors need to be cooled. But the TMI as the location for the prison was revealed to be what it was – just a stupid set where a bunch of drunk lazy underpaid screenwriters got together and said, “Hey, what can top Alcatraz for a location?!”

    And these are just some of gaping logical holes in the movie that serve to make an average film into a bad one. I won’t even go into poor creative decisions, such as throwing a “deep” relationship into our laps from nowhere and then expecting us to really believe that Logan and Kayla love each other (as opposed to showing us how they met and fell in love). Or never explaining where Victor’s anger and rage comes from or why it was necessary to invent a total throw-away villain whose name no one can even remember at the end of the movie.

    Seriously, Wolverine is a Exhibit A in the evidence chamber of the negative effects of the writers’ strike. Total waste of Hugh Jackman. One of the worst comic book adaptions since Fantastic Four (both of them), Daredevil, Punisher, and Elecktra.

    Then again, maybe you can’t blame it on the writers’ strike after all.

  8. I expect Star Trek and Terminator: Salvation to be of good quality.

  9. Star Trek was Good. Saw the Sneak Peek last Saturday. I do predict once it “officially” hits the theaters people will be saying “what’s a wolverine?” IF Star Trek is the result of the Writers Strike we need a strike every year.

  10. Great points, everyone. I think we may seem some more movies that suffered from the WGA strike. A great script=a great movie, that’s a fact. Unless the director bungles it up, and we’ve all seen that in the past.


  11. No, we did not do rewrites or reshoots.

  12. @boborci

    Thanks, always nice to get verification. :-)