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Killers Of The Flower Moon: Release Update Offers Hope Amid Hollywood Strikes

Most of Hollywood is currently on pause due to the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes. As creatives in the industry continue to fight for better wages and protection from artificial intelligence, studios are concerned about their upcoming theatrical slate. With writers and actors unavailable to promote their projects due to strike rules, several studios are considering the possibility of delaying upcoming high-profile projects. Luca Guadagnino's highly-anticipated tennis-drama "Challengers," which features Zendaya in a leading role, was the first of many major 2023 releases to get pushed back to 2024. At this current junction, the theatrical landscape for the next few months remains uncertain, with blockbusters like "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" and "Dune Part Two" considering delays

The Hollywood Reporter, however, says there's hope for "Killers of the Flower Moon." The outlet suggests that Apple TV+ and Martin Scorsese's highly-anticipated film is still on track to open nationwide on October 20, after a limited release on October 6. Paramount Pictures is distributing the $200 million epic. Sources tell the outlet that the film won't shift its release date. "Killers of the Flower Moon," which stars Lily Gladstone, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Robert De Niro debuted to critical acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival. For Apple TV+, the film is a major bet towards Scorsese's clout as a creative, giving the auteur one of his largest budgets in recent memory. While it remains to be seen if the film will be a financial success, Apple TV+ is likely more concerned with Oscar gold than record-breaking receipts.

As bad news continues to take over the industry, it's interesting to see that Apple TV+ and Paramount Pictures are sticking with a 2023 release date for "Killers of the Flower Moon."

Major film festivals are still debuting Hollywood productions

"Killers of the Flower Moon" choosing not to shift is a major deal. After all, the nearly three-and-a-half-hour epic about the Osage nation is a film that would benefit considerably from the publicity of its lead stars. With the Oscars race slowly heating up, it would make sense to have stars like Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone, who is said to be the film's standout, discuss the picture with the press. Alas, that won't happen so long as the SAG-AFTRA strike continues into the fall. 

While major tentpoles are debating release date shifts, it's possible that smaller films will continue to come out in the next few months. While the Venice International Film Festival has lost out on "Challengers" as its opening film, a number of marquee Hollywood productions are set to debut at the European festival. David Fincher's highly-anticipated "The Killer" will premiere at the festival, as well as Michael Mann's "Ferrari," which features Adam Driver in the titular role. Yorgos Lanthimos' "Poor Things" will still debut at the festival, though it recently postponed its stateside release due to the strikes. The Emma Stone and Willem Dafoe-starring film will now release in December — it was originally set to debut in September. 

The Toronto International Film Festival is also boasting a number of high-profile films this year, proving that studios are still willing to debut projects despite the restrictions caused by the strike. The Canadian festival will premiere the GameStop saga chronicling "Dumb Money," which stars Seth Rogen and Paul Dano and Taika Waititi's long-gestating soccer pic "Next Goal Wins." Both films are still slated to receive wide releases later this year. 

This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. To learn more about why writers and actors are currently on strike, click here for an up-to-date explainer from our Looper team.