The second half of summer 2023 has been a dicey one for the promotion of movies due to the ongoing WGA writers strike and SAG actors strike. As both unions have been pushing back on Hollywood on the picket line, there’s been a pause of press tours that have already delayed some 2023 new movie releases, including Zendaya’s Challengers. The movie was initially going to open the 80th Venice International Film Festival before it was pulled from the festival and moved to April 2024. However, it's just been announced that Jacob Elordi’s Priscilla will still get its Venice premiere and fall wide release. What’s up with that?
Priscilla is an A24 film from Sofia Coppola that tells the story of Elvis Presley through the eyes of his wife, Priscilla. Here’s what we know about what’s different about the releases of Priscilla and Challengers.
How Come Priscilla Can Premiere At Venice?
As reported by Deadline, Priscilla was actually given a SAG-AFTRA Interim Agreement to go forward with the promotion of its release because it was shot in Canada under the production company TCB Productions Canada. Some independent movies, many of which are from A24, have been given Interim Agreements from SAG as well to continue filming as many Hollywood productions remain paused for the same reason because of their independent status separate from the Hollywood machine.
With that in mind, Priscilla will premiere at the Venice Film Festival in Italy next week with the allowance for Sofia Coppola and its cast to be present and even do press (if they decide to). The report also indicated that Coppola is already planning on attending the premiere alongside the subject of her movie, Priscilla Presley.
What Happened With Challengers?
On the flipside, Challengers, which stars Zendaya as a tennis player who gets caught in a love triangle with two fellow players, was pulled from Venice Film Festival amidst the SAG actors strike last month, and its release was delayed from this September 15 to April 26, 2024. Why did one Euphoria star get a pass to still be released while the other didn’t? It really comes down to Challengers being financed by MGM, which doesn’t make it an independent movie like Priscilla, even though it might be a smaller budget movie that would have benefitted from the eyes of Venice.
Movies can still very much be released right now in light of the Hollywood union strikes, but without a major actor like Zendaya doing press for Challengers, the movie has less of a chance of getting eyes on it in the current climate.
Priscilla, however, is set to hit theaters on October 27 after its premiere at the Venice Film Festival next week. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more news on both these movies.