Hollywood actors and major studios reached an agreement Wednesday to end a strike that has crippled production of movies and series in the U.S. for months and cost the U.S. economy billions, the SAG-AFTRA actors’ union announced.
“The strike will officially end on Thursday, November 9 at 12:01 p.m.,” Los Angeles time, the organization explained in a statement. An “agreement in principle” was reached after a 118-day strike by actors, who demanded better pay and protections based on artificial intelligence in an industry disrupted by the arrival of broadcasting platforms.
The exact content of the contract has not yet been released, but “further information will be communicated on Friday,” the union said.
SAG-AFTRA’s 160,000 actors, dancers and other stunt members must vote on their new collective bargaining agreement to allow big stars and extras to return to set and resume filming. A step is widely seen as a formality.
Talks with bosses have taken place almost daily over the past two weeks, with the CEOs of Disney, Netflix, Warner Bros. and Universal among them.
Because there was a growing need to put an end to this social movement.
Except for a minority of big celebrities, most actors found it very difficult to make ends meet without filming – some took back other jobs. Studios had gaps in their release schedules for the following year and beyond.
After the postponement of major productions such as the second part of the “Dune” saga or the “Stranger Things” series, studios now want to start work as quickly as possible.
The industry has gone through a double historic social movement: when the actors went on strike in mid-July, the screenwriters had already stopped work since early May. Hollywood has not experienced such a crisis since Ronald Reagan was President of the Screen Actors Guild in 1960 – before becoming President of the United States.
In total, the shutdown of the sector in recent months has cost at least $6 billion, according to recent estimates by economists.
Actors and screenwriters shared an observation: except for star actors and star “showrunners”, most of them could no longer earn a decent living in the era of broadcast platforms.
Not only because the platforms produce series with far fewer episodes per season than television, but because Netflix and other movies and series are rebroadcasting each time, revenue has been severely cut.
Unlike television, where rebroadcasting can be paid for through an advertising model based on viewership figures, a job broadcast on an online platform is subject to a fixed fee regardless of the program’s popularity.
The studios finally reached an agreement with the writers in late September, and most of them returned to work. But despite this progress, negotiations with stakeholders dragged on.
To break the deadlock, the two sides have found a compromise on the minimum wage, which would have to increase by about 8% compared to the previous three-year deal: the largest increase in decades. This is less than the initial demands of the actors.
On the streaming side, the bonus system will be in place for actors acting in successful serials or films.
Oversight of artificial intelligence (AI) was another key tension, especially in the final stretch of negotiations.
Actors feared that studios would use this technology to clone their voices and images and reuse them forever without compensation or acknowledgment. Studios made proposals in this area, but the cast believed that these measures did not go far enough.
In recent days, the two parties have notably sparred over conditions surrounding the studios’ rights to star-studded films.
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