Why it matters: A second attack could shut down Hollywood entirely.
Hollywood is already 80% shut down since writers went on strike on May 2nd. Some TV shows and movies continued to shoot, but the writers cut off the shows in production with astonishing effectiveness. If the actors were to join the picket line, the production would shut down entirely, a reality that would have a significant impact on the local economies of Los Angeles and other filming locations such as Atlanta and New York City. During the last writers’ strike 15 years ago, the Los Angeles economy lost an estimated $2.1 billion.
With reruns of network shows and a proliferation of reality shows, the effects of the double-attack will soon be felt on television as well. And while the actors won’t be able to promote their new movies, it’s already a pretty real reality, as writers’ strikes have forced late-night shows to go black.
Background: Streaming and AI will bring change.
Not since Ronald Reagan became president of the Screen Actors Guild has a writer and an actor gone on strike at the same time. At the time, the actors were fighting over the balance of the license fee for the made-for-TV movie. Today, actors want to secure higher wages and better residuals in an entertainment industry struggling to turn a profit after studios invested billions in streaming. Actors are also concerned about how their likenesses will be used with the advent of artificial intelligence.
Guild members approved the strike in early June, with 97.9 percent of members voting in favor. And on 24 June, SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher and Guild National Secretary Duncan Crabtree Ireland told members they were “remaining optimistic” about the talks. They added that negotiations with the Motion Picture and Television Producers Alliance, the industry group negotiating with studios, have been “very productive.”
video This prompted a group of more than 1,000 people, including Ms. Drescher, to sign a letter to union leadership urging them not to settle for a lower bargain. “We are ready to attack,” the letter said.
On June 30, the union announced that the contract had been extended until Wednesday as talks continued between the two sides.
What’s next: Is it still possible to close the deal?
The parties held talks throughout the weekend, but it remained unclear whether they were close to a settlement. Approximately 160,000 SAG-AFTRA members will be poised to join the 11,000 writers already in the picket line if no agreement is reached by midnight Wednesday Pacific time.