A heated press conference held two days ago, with much emotion and limited information on where the negotiations between the actor’s union (SAG-AFTRA) and the studios/producers are going, didn’t give much ammo to the journalists.
All we know is that prior to declaring the strike (that hasn’t happened to actors since 1980), the opposing parties left the table with unresolved issues on all fronts, despite concerted efforts by WME’s Ari Emanuel and CAA’s Bryan Lourd with Federal mediators.
The actors demand a hard revision of their contracts (last updated in 2006), transparency and pay on streamers’ viewership, and a clear understanding and adjustment of AI. Speaking of how the business model has drastically changed over the past years, SAG President Fran Drescher also called for respect of actors by the studios and streamers CEO’s who make millions of dollars and are living ‘on the wrong side of history’.
No question, the strike of the 160 thousand + members of SAG-AFTRA will have a dire impact on the industry worldwide. Film and TV production comes to a halt not just in Los Angeles, but all over the world where members are part of any film shoot. Post pandemic, Hungarian service providers were looking to pick up filming this summer and fall with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Johnny Depp, but now they have to navigate current shoots with Eddie Redmayne (in the middle of filming The Day of the Jackal, a miniseries for NBC/Peacock), and stop filming Mads Mikkelsen and Sigourney Weaver on Dust Bunny for Entertainment One that was scheduled to start shooting this week.
The strike also has an impact on promotion, although the 3 big movies of the summer escaped the gag order by a hair. Mission Impossible completed a worldwide tour, “Barbie” made a whirlwind splash in pink in Los Angeles and London by this past Sunday, and “Oppenheimer” locked a premier tour of Paris and moved up the London red carpet a notch to make it just before the strike kicked in last night. Hollywood now is taking advantage of July 14, the last day for press junkets. And then, everything goes dark.
According to SAG-AFTRA, the financial impact of the strike will be tremendous. The city will lose 30 million dollars a day in Los Angeles only. It will bring down ancillary businesses of janitors, FedEx, florists, makeup artists, stylists, restaurants, junket productions and many more for the tens of thousands of people losing their payday. And the end of the strike is not even lurking on the horizon.
Left with close to a month to the opening, the Venice film festival is in a ‘wait and see’ mode, and so is Telluride and Toronto. If the strike doesn’t get resolved, movies slated for these fests will have to go back in the can, and their run will have to be rescheduled or moved to 2024 giving a big headache to the studios and the streamers.
We’ll be monitoring the negotiations so please stay tuned…