Even though the writer's strike is finally over, studios are moving forward with extreme caution on future projects. According to Variety, due to the tension of the lingering SAG agreement, most studios are refusing to schedule new start dates on films that can't complete shooting by June 30th.
Transformers 2 director Michael Bay said that the sequel is still recovering from the writer's strike, and that he's trying to catch-up with his trio of writers, Ehren Kruger, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.
"If there is a strike, we shut down, but shutting down isn't that big a deal," Bay said. "You make accommodations, you make a deal with vending houses on equipment and on the stages where you are shooting. You hope for the best, but you can't be incapacitated by the possibility that there will be a strike. We've got to get this town back to work. I can't imagine anyone wants another strike, we're all tired. Hopefully clearer heads will prevail."
The uncertainty has prompted Steven Spielberg to halt an April production start on the Aaron Sorkin-scripted DreamWorks drama The Trial of the Chicago 7. He'll take the extra time to hone the script with Sorkin. Only Sacha Baron Cohen had been set to play Abbie Hoffman and is now looking at summer or fall start date, when the prospect of an actor's strike should be in the rear view mirror.
Warner Bros. is hoping that director George Miller will begin to film the superhero film Justice League of America in mid-July. Production for the project has been off-and-on in recent months, as the script needed more work. The second the strike was over, screenwriting duo Kiernan and Michele Mulroney began rewriting the script. Warner Bros. is hoping to get a draft in the next six weeks.
20th Century Fox has scheduled August as the start date for production on The Tooth Fairy, a comedy that will star Dwayne Johnson. The picture will start a three-month preproduction process in May, so that it can be among the first post-strike pictures to go into production.
Warner Bros. also revealed earlier this week that it will begin shooting Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins on May 5 in Albuquerque. All exterior scenes will be shot and completed by June 30 so that no extra location rental charges are incurred. Director McG will edit that footage, and visual effects artists will continue their work, moving the project forward even if the actors go home. The movie will be finished on soundstages once actors return to work.
Sony will begin shooting its The Da Vinci Code sequel Angels and Demons in Rome on June 5. Director Ron Howard will spend three weeks shooting all of the film's exterior scenes. The rest of the film will be shot on Sony soundstages, where sets will wait, if necessary, until an actors strike is over. That allowed Sony to somewhat contain the costs to halt and re-start the picture.