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Seismic shake ups in show business

While audiences get ready for their chance to see “Barbenheimer,” Hollywood and the entertainment industry is in a state of upheaval. Just how sustainable are things right now?

At the start of May this year, the WGA (Writers Guild of America) went on strike demanding better compensation, better terms of employment and agreements on the use of artificial intelligence (AI).

Last Friday, SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) started going on strike too with similar concerns.

On Thursday, the cast of “Oppenheimer” — Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr. and Florence Pugh — walked out of their red carpet event in London with the full support of director Christopher Nolan.

Actors Sharon Lawrence, Frances Fisher, Rosario Dawson and Jason Sudeikis take part in rallies in California and New York. AP PHOTO

Margot Robbie has halted promotions for “Barbie” due to the actors' strike. Actors belonging to SAG-AFTRA have stopped going to work and will not be promoting current projects including swooping down en masse to the ongoing Comic Con International in San Diego.

To have an idea of just how fired up the actors are, go over to YouTube and listen to SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher's impassioned speech last Thursday after the unanimous vote to go on strike. And to have an idea about how AI can affect livelihoods, read through at Justine Bateman's Instagram account.

In the meantime, entertainment content streaming providers and giants like Netflix, Warner, Amazon, HBO, Disney aren't transparent regarding their numbers on viewership and value.

Most appear to be operating at a loss (except maybe for Netflix), yet at the same time they're throwing money to make new shows exclusive to their platforms in order to compete.

A record of 599 original scripted shows were aired last year. At the same time, so many don't last more than one season. Not to mention, they're also throwing lots of money at their CEOs.

To add to all this, superheroes and franchises are no longer a sure thing. This year, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” “Flash” and “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” have performed below expectations.

I suppose while things are coming undone, audiences can head over to the cinema, shut off the world outside and choose between “Barbie,” which is fun, colorful, witty and with a dash of commentary or the more historical, dramatic, somber and thought-provoking, “Oppenheimer.”

While Hall H and Ballroom 20 (and the many, many other function rooms) at Comic Con International will miss out on the presence of Hollywood, there will undoubtedly be Filipino presence.

Out of the hundreds of panels, there are ones on the Filipino American diaspora in pop culture, Voltes V: Legacy, Filipino American voices in comics, and something called “Lumpia with a Vengeance.”

Personally, I'd like to see creatives get compensated and their work protected and for there to be more quality vs. quantity when it comes to content and platforms. It would also be great to see even more original, fresh and clever work and ideas from Filipinos everywhere.

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Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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