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No Deal (Yet): After Day of Internal Talks, SAG-AFTRA Still Deliberating
The committee discussed the studios' latest counter for 10 hours Tuesday
Better put the confetti cannon away for the moment: We’re now headed into Day 118 of the SAG-AFTRA strike with no deal just yet.
My phone was abuzz this evening with rumors that a deal had supposedly been struck, but several sources familiar with the talks told me then that it was far too early to call. The actors guild began their internal deliberations at noon and went over the studios’ package of proposals until around 10 p.m., ending the day without a vote from the committee on whether to accept the offer. (Apologies and a quick correction to my hastily written update in colleague Sean McNulty’s PM edition of The Wakeup — Tuesday’s talks were strictly internal and not across the table from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.)
SAG-AFTRA sent the following update to its membership of 160,000 after 10:30 p.m. Tuesday:
“Following a meeting Monday night with the AMPTP, the TV/Theatrical Negotiating Committee spent 10 hours deliberating today. We will continue on Wednesday.
We appreciate your patience and support while we finish our work.”
The studios had presented a “last, best and final offer” to the union on Saturday, and SAG-AFTRA formally responded on Monday morning, but said then that there were “several essential items on which we still do not have an agreement, including AI.”
AI is one of the last major issues being debated, though certainly not the only one. The Hollywood Reporter had initially reported that the AMPTP, among other things, included language in its offer that “would see the studios and streamers secure the right to use scans of deceased performers without the consent of their estate or SAG-AFTRA,” though a studio-side source later told the publication that producers would have to get permission from an authorized representative. Suffice it to say this idea was received poorly on social media. (“I’ve always wanted to work with my grandfather!” quipped Ever Carradine, granddaughter of John Carradine, on Twitter.)
Without a deal for the town to celebrate on Wednesday morning, Day 118 will instead kick off in more somber fashion with Warner Bros. Discovery’s quarterly earnings report, where WBD chief David Zaslav is likely to face questions from equity analysts about the impact of the strike on the business. Disney reports its own earnings later Wednesday after the close of trade, where CEO Bob Iger will have to answer similar queries. It would have been much easier on the studio heads to be able to point to a hopefully once-in-a-lifetime dual strike as a speck in the rearview mirror, but now they’re likely to face prodding about the impact of a protracted actors strike on their balance sheets.
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ICYMI: Strike News
Long before he became SAG-AFTRA’s chief negotiator, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland once studied to become a diplomat. “‘Diplomacy and labor negotiation can have some similar elements, for sure,’ he said. Key to both, he said, is ‘helping to solve disputes through negotiation and discussion.’” (Variety)
Last weekend should have been the debut of Dune: Part Two — not anymore. After the tentpole sequel was delayed to 2024 as a result of the strike, movie theaters were left with the second, third and fourth respective weekends of Five Nights at Freddy’s, Killers of the Flower Moon and Taylor Swift: Eras Tour, which produced the third lowest 2023 weekend box office total. (Forbes)
Additional reporting for ICYMI: Strike News by Matthew Frank.
Disclosure: Elaine Low is an inactive member of SAG-AFTRA.