Studios Fear the Effect on Promotional Material during SAG Strike

Hollywood studio execs are fretting about a new strike-related headache this summer: What will happen if the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) bars stars from promoting their films during the busy box office period?

Publicists, particularly those on the broadcast side, who are handling pictures set for release in July and beyond fear that the ban will cause release dates to shift for movies scheduled to come out during summer, which is viewed as the most likely strike period.

“We’ve been trying to set junkets and tape interviews before the strike but there’s only so much you can do at this point,” a publicist told Variety.

SAG’s goal is to build pressure on studios to settle quickly. They believe that barring promo activity would generate a backlash from high-profile members, particularly those with deals tied to box office performance. In the other hand, studios would argue that promo work couldn’t be covered by a strike order because performers have already been paid.

SAG has been secretive on whether it will allow members to continue doing promo and publicity for features if the union goes on strike after its June 30 contract expiration.

The issue could be decided at SAG’s national plenary meetings in Los Angeles at the end of next week.

During the last months of the ad strike, stars such as Rosie O’Donnell, Susan Sarandon and Tom Selleck endorsed the work stoppage on TV and radio show appearances. Additionally, dozens of actors wore gold ribbons in support of SAG at the Primetime Emmy Awards last year.