Actors strike ends after a painful 118 days on the picket line

Actors strike ends: Studios reach tentative agreement with SAG-AFTRA after a painful 118 days on the picket line

  • Deal struck between actors union and studio bosses after two weeks of intensive negotiation
  • The union was seeking guarantees on Artificial Intelligence and a cut of streaming revenue for its members 
  • Agreement still needs to be approved in the coming days by union members 

The Hollywood actors’ strike which threatened to throw the studios into chaos may finally be over after 118 days, it was confirmed this evening.

Union SAG-AFTRA has reached a tentative agreement for a new three-year deal with studios.

Two weeks of intense negotiation between the performers’ union and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers appears to have produced a break-through in the long-running dispute with an official end penciled in for 12.01am on Thursday.

The union said in a statement that its negotiaters had voted unanimously to approve the tentative deal, which will proceed to the union’s national board on Friday for ‘review and consideration’. 

Strikes began on July 14 with actors highlighting a number of issues including pay and the use of artificial intelligence at the heart of the talks.

The deal still needs to be ratified by union members but would bring to an end a summer of industrial action which also saw Hollywood writers strike for nearly five months.

Strikes began on July 14 with actors highlighting a number of issues including pay and the use of artificial intelligence at the heart of the talks

Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav attended the talks which appear to have produced a break through in the four-month strike 

Hollywood experienced its first dual work stoppage in 63 years, halting productions across the industry and costing the economy billions of dollars

Talks had collapsed as recently as October 12 when studio bosses walked away on the grounds that the $800 million more per year SAG-AFTRA proposal meant ‘the gap is too great’.

But Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos, Warner Bros Discovery’s David Zaslav, and Disney’s CEO Bob Iger attended resumed talks in person at the union’s national headquarters in Los Angeles as the dispute threatened to bring the industry to its knees.

Warner Bros predicted in September that the actor and writers’ strike would see it lose up to $500million this year.

Hollywood’s first dual work stoppage in 63 years, halted productions across the industry and cost the economy billions of dollars.

But the studios announced that they had suspended contract negotiations in October after making an offer as good as the one that ended the writers strike.

‘It is clear that the gap between the AMPTP and SAG-AFTRA is too great, and conversations are no longer moving us in a productive direction,’ the AMPTP said in a statement.

The actors union decried their opponents’ ‘bullying tactics’ and said they were wildly mischaracterizing their offers.

But talks resumed on October 24 after a near two-week break when, the studios improved their offer to increase actors’ wage floors, and moved on a success-based streaming bonus.

Numerous big-budget films that had been in the works were forced to shut down immediately. Affected productions included the anticipated sequel Deadpool 3

Filming for Gladiator 2, which stars Paul Mescal (pictured), has also been temporarily called off amid the prospective uncertainty

Series such as Sydney Sweeney’s Euphoria were not spared, with the show’s season three pushed back to 2025

Two days later a letter was released signed by thousands of actors, telling union negotiators, ‘We have not come all this way to cave now.’ 

Details of the new deal have yet to emerge after the studios made their ‘last, best and final,’ offer on the use of AI which actors fear will destroy their profession.

In a letter to actors last month the union claimed the companies ‘refuse to protect performers from being replaced by AI, they refuse to increase your wages to keep up with inflation, and they refuse to share a tiny portion of the immense revenue YOUR work generates for them’. 

The union has worked to close any potential AI loopholes that could lead to future issues, as well as securing a major increase to health and pension contributions caps that have not changed in decades.

SAG-AFTRA announced they would be joining the strike on July 13 and its president actress Fran Drescher said: ‘We demand respect! You cannot exist without us!

‘What happens to us is important,’ The Nanny star added. ‘What’s happening to us is happening across all fields of labor.

‘When employers make Wall Street and greed their priority and they forget about the essential contributors who make the machine run, we have a problem.

SAG boss Fran Drescher led the actors’ dispute and has approved the new deal 

In July, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Radio and Television Artists (SAG-AFTRA) decided to stand in solidarity with the Writers’ Guild of America (WGA) – which had been striking since May – after negotiations with studios fell apart

‘The jig is up, we demand respect,’ she said.

The union told its members last month to avoid dressing up for Halloween as any characters featured in struck films or shows, via a digital flyer posted to its strike website.

In addition to avoiding characters featured in currently struck films or television shows, guild members should also avoid wearing costumes of characters owned by struck companies, such as characters from Marvel movies, who are primarily owned by Disney.

A flyer instructed members to ‘choose costumes inspired by generalized characters and figures,’ and it cites ghosts, zombies and spiders as safe and acceptable costume ideas. 

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