Universal, Disney, Netflix and Paramount Move Forward as Actors Strike Ends

in Entertainment, Movies & TV

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Credit: ITM

The art of moviemaking has relied on countless talented performers to be the main instruments by which cinematic tales are told for nearly 130 years. Yet, with the advent of the Streaming Era, the business exploited both its writers and its actors even further by the failure to readjust wages properly. This caused both parties to strike. The writers’ strike began and ended first in triumph. Now, the actors’ strike can bask in the same revelry as their stalemate has finished today. This settlement is a historic achievement, but here is what it means for movie lovers.

Buddy the Elf smiling on a blue, snowy background of New York City
Credit: New Line Cinema

This 118-day standoff between the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of TV and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) has ended with a tentative agreement on a new contract. This treaty plans to ensure that the 2024 movie and television season can resume production within weeks. The strike is officially set to finish on Thursday, November 9 at 12:01 a.m. PST.

Fran Drescher announcing the SAG-AFTRA strike actors strike
Credit: NBC News

The agreement between SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP was first shaped from discussions that started on October 24 with the CEOs of four major entertainment companies initially refusing to come to terms. The heads of Disney, Warner Bros. Netflix, and Universal originally presented SAG-AFTRA with an agreement to increase bonuses for the most-watched streaming content, as well as provide a sizeable improvement to actors’ minimum pay rates.

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Credit: ITM

However, the actors union led by some notable members like Fran Drescher and Sean Astin, refused the offer unless the studios could also present a financial cut of total streaming revenue, as well as the regulations of AI. The four major film studio CEOs refused to budge on this issue despite it being the focal point of the strike. This forced both parties to reconvene later to reset expectations and arrive at an agreeable settlement.

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Credit: ITM

The studios resumed talks last Friday, November 3, where they were joined by others studio heads from Paramount, Amazon, and Apple. Netflix CEO, Ted Sarandos viewed this as a momentous agreement as he expressed, “We didn’t just come toward you, we came all the way to you.” The new contract extended further talks between the two sides that resumed this week as the actors guild poured over the studios’ latest set of proposals.

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Credit: ITM

AMPTP did set a time limit as members informed SAG-AFTRA at noon today that it wanted a confirmation of terms by 5 PM, PST. This was the producers last ditch effort because if a settlement was not reached by this phase, they expressed the extreme likelihood of scrapping the entire broadcast 2024 season, as well as the 2024 summer theatrical releases. The agreement was settled after nearly 30 minutes once the contract examination was complete.

SAG committee members have disclosed that this is in fact a groundbreaking pay raise for performers. The deal will guarantee that most minimum pay rates will rise by 7%, which is 2% more than the raises granted to the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and the Writers Guild of America (WGA). It will also include the first-ever safeguards against artificial intelligence misusing actors’ likenesses without consent or residuals.

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Credit: ITM

Kevin E. West, a member of the committee, stated that there were “tears of exhilaration and joy” after the contract received approval. He divulged that the final deal is still “not perfect, [but] nothing is.” Even so, he viewed this outcome as an “extraordinary” achievement.

Another committee member, Ben Whitehair, professed that this was a “massive win” for SAG. He also stated that it will implement a “structural change” in compensation with streaming platforms in the future. Sean Astin, another committee member, said it was gratifying to be able to tell a Zoom meeting full of strike captains that “their sacrifice worked.” The full details are expected to be released on Friday, November 10.

Sean Astin as Bob Newby in Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

This combined six month ‘war of attrition’ in Hollywood was a necessary, but costly conflict. Major studios lost approximately more than $6.5 billion with their active productions coming to a complete halt. It also caused severe financial hardships for SAG members due to the lack of work. In addition, 45,000 additional entertainment jobs were frozen. Despite all these tribulations, this agreement could make way for another Golden Era in Moviemaking as the last writers strike of 2007 had the same effect.

What do you think if this monumental news? What 2024 projects are you most looking forward to seeing?

in Entertainment, Movies & TV

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