A mega strike in Hollywood involving writers and artists threatens to come to a standstill the production of most movies and many popular TV shows.
The last time members of the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) walked out was in July 1980.
At the time, part of the feud between members and entertainment giants was over profits from sales of shows and movies made for cable television and videotapes, the New York Times reported at the time.
Forty-three years later, the new strike – which joins an existing writers’ strike – focuses on similar demands regarding content for streaming platforms and concerns about artificial intelligence.
Which movies are affected?
SAG-AFTRA said at a press conference on Thursday that the strike will involve members in the 2020 TV and theater contract.
Upcoming releases due to promotional events such as press events and red carpet premieres include Disney’s Haunted house (released July 28), a new one Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie (August 2), Sir Kenneth Branagh’s Agatha Christie mystery A haunting in Venice (September 15).
Some of the biggest blockbusters currently in production include Wonder Woman 3, ghost buster 4, Mufasa: The Lion King And avatar 3 and 4according to the Internet Movie Database.
While writing for these projects will likely be completed, the artist strike will halt much of the production work and disrupt scheduling.
Movie licenses for feature films and television projects, including reality TV, in Los Angeles fell 64% last week from the same week in 2022, according to figures from FilmLA.
“In a normal week at this time of year, there would be dozens of scripted television projects in production. In contrast, we have no film-licensed scripted TV series this week,” the agency said.
Even once principal photography – the most important part of filming a project – has been completed, actors are now unavailable for common requests such as reshoots and dialogue replacements – where lines are rerecorded to correct mistakes or mumbles.
Foreign productions, such as those of Paramount Gladiator Sequel filming in Morocco and Malta are also expected to be affected.
What about TV shows?
When it comes to TV, Warner Bros. Discovery earlier on about the minimal disruption of the writers’ strike for HBO projects like House of the Dragon series because the scripts were complete.
But the strike by SAG-AFTRA member artists means that many fully written screenplays are now likely to remain unused.
It is believed that side agreements can be made between guild artists and producers to keep certain projects going.
In the US, other TV projects are expected to enter production this summer, including the second series of the Night court reboot and Chicago Med, Fire and PD on NBC, NCIS And Young Sheldon on CBS, and Family man And The Simpsons on Fox.
American networks have responded by expanding the amount of “unscripted content”. The masked singer, The great race, Survivor And Kitchen nightmaresin their fall schedules.
What happens now?
As sound stages in the US and other parts of the world become quieter due to the Hollywood mega-strike, there will be meetings between the guilds and representatives of the entertainment industry.
In 1980, during the last actors’ strike, the strike lasted 10 weeks as the two sides struggled with the terms of a new settlement that reflected the demands and concerns of all parties.
The estimated cost of that strike was estimated by the industry to be about $100 million (£76 million), the New York Times said at the time, equivalent to about $370 million today.
The last time both writers and actors went on strike together was in 1960 – when writers went on strike for 21 weeks and actors went on strike for six weeks.
This time, negotiations could take even longer, with some actors urging their union to take a tough approach, according to industry bible Variety.
“This is not a time to meet halfway, and it is no exaggeration to say that the eyes of history are on all of us,” it said in a letter signed by 2,000 actors.
For their part, Hollywood employers and producers said they were disappointed by SAG-AFTRA’s decision, which they say turned down a historic bid.
Commenting on the strike, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said it was “definitely not the result we hoped for, as studios can’t operate without the artists who bring our TV shows and movies to life.”
“Unfortunately, the union has chosen a path that will lead to financial hardship for countless thousands of people dependent on the industry.”
- United States
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