After several productive days at the negotiating table, Hollywood studios are becoming optimistic that they are getting closer to an agreement to end the 108-day actors’ strike, according to three people briefed on the matter.
These people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the labor situation, cautioned on Sunday that some issues remain unresolved with the actors, including one related to the use of artificial intelligence technology to create digital replicas of their likeness without payment. Security is also included. Approval. But other puzzles were beginning to unravel, the people said.
For example, SAG-AFTRA, as the actors’ union is known, was demanding an 11 percent minimum wage increase in the first year of the contract. The studios had insisted that they could not offer more than 5 percent, as had recently been offered (and agreed to) by unions for writers and directors. However, early last week the studios increased their offer to 7 percent. By Friday, SAG-AFTRA had reduced its demand to 9 percent.
SAG-AFTRA did not respond to requests for comment. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which negotiates on behalf of major entertainment companies, declined to comment.
In an email to SAG-AFTRA members Friday night, the union’s negotiating committee said, “We completed a full and productive day.” On Saturday, the union sent a routine reminder about plans for the coming week, which included a Wednesday strike at Walt Disney Studios. Talks between the two sides continued on Sunday also.
Last week, studio executives – in conversations with filmmakers, agents, journalists and the actors themselves – made it known that a deal must be reached by the end of this week (or nearly so), otherwise there would be darkness on the set for the next two days. There is a possibility of staying. Month.
To put it another way, unless negotiations pick up pace, January may be the earliest the cast (and crew) get pay checks.
Brinkmanship? Absolutely. This is a standard part of any strike. However, the companies said they were only pointing to the calendar. It will take time to reassemble creative teams, a process that will be complicated by the upcoming holidays. Preproduction (before anyone assembles on set) for new shows can take up to 12 weeks, with films taking about 16 weeks. Make time for contract ratification by SAG-AFTRA members.
More than 4,000 mostly weekday actors responded Thursday open letter He told his confederates, “We haven’t come all this way to cave in.” He added, “We cannot and will not accept a contract that fails to address the critical and existential problems we all need to fix.”
Also, some stars have put pressure on union leaders to negotiate with more urgency. Unemployed crew members have also become increasingly frustrated with Hollywood’s closure. The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, representing 170,000 crew members in North America, has estimated that its West Coast members alone have lost more than $1.4 billion in wages.
For their part, companies are under pressure to save their spring television schedules and movie lineups. On Friday, Disney delayed the live-action version of “Snow White,” which was set for March 26, because it would be impossible to finish it on time. Earlier in the week, Paramount also pushed back Tom Cruise’s next “Mission: Impossible” film as well as “A Quiet Place: Day One,” starring Lupita Nyong’o.
The entertainment business has been at a standstill for months due to a strike by writers who walked out in May and actors who joined them in July. The writers’ strike was resolved last month, raising hopes for a quick resolution between the studio and the actors’ union. Instead, the process has been slow.
Talks resumed Tuesday between the sides after breaking down earlier in the month over the union’s proposal for a per-subscriber fee from streaming services, which Netflix co-Chief Executive Ted Sarandos publicly described as a “levy” and “very Dismissed as “a bridge too far”. ” SAG-AFTRA accused studio executives of “bullying tactics.”
It is unclear how the streaming problem can be resolved. But there is real hope in Hollywood that people can get back to work soon.
“At this time, we do not have any concrete information from any studios,” Michael Akins, an official with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees in Georgia, wrote to members on Friday. “But the writing is clearly on the wall that the industry shutdown is in its last days.”
John Koblin And Nicole Spurling Contributed to the reporting.