After six months of picket lines, Hollywood’s strike is over. SAG-AFTRA announced Wednesday afternoon that its TV/Theatrical committee unanimously approved a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on a new contract that would bring an end to the strike at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday.
While details about the contract haven’t been made public yet, in a message to members explaining the $1 billion-deal, the guild touted “unprecedented” protections for the use of artificial intelligence software, hikes on pension and benefits caps, provisions to increase diversity,bigger pay for extras and a “participation bonus” for streaming content.
“We have arrived at a contract that will enable SAG-AFTRA members from every category to build sustainable careers. Many thousands of performers now and into the future will benefit from this work,” the guild also said.
AMPTP in a separate statement celebrated what it called a “new paradigm” for Hollywood, adding that the group “looks forward to the industry resuming the work of telling great stories.”
The agreement will now go to the actors guild’s national board, which is expected to unanimously approve it in an emergency meeting on Friday for presentation to union members. A voting period will then be established for members to either ratify or reject the contract.
In a statement to its members shortly after the announcement went wide, the union previewed that the deal is worth “over one billion dollars” and touts “‘above pattern’ minimum compensation increases” and “unprecedented provisions” governing the use of AI. The guild also said that for the first time, actors will receive a “streaming participation bonus,” as well as raises to the pension and benefits cap, provisions to increase diversity, and higher compensation for background actors.
“We have arrived at a contract that will enable SAG-AFTRA members from every category to build sustainable careers. Many thousands of performers now and into the future will benefit from this work,” the guild said.
In its own statement Wednesday, the AMPTP said: “Today’s tentative agreement represents a new paradigm. It gives SAG-AFTRA the biggest contract-on-contract gains in the history of the union, including the largest increase in minimum wages in the last forty years; a brand new residual for streaming programs; extensive consent and compensation protections in the use of artificial intelligence; and sizable contract increases on items across the board. The AMPTP is pleased to have reached a tentative agreement and looks forward to the industry resuming the work of telling great stories.”
The deal between actors and studios came after weeks of talks at the SAG-AFTRA headquarters between the guild’s negotiating committee, led by president Fran Drescher and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, and AMPTP president Carol Lombardini alongside the quartet of CEOs present at negotiations with the Writers Guild of America: Disney’s Bob Iger, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley, and Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav.
Negotiations resumed on Oct. 2, with the two sides alternating between days of working internally and directly negotiating until Oct. 11, when the AMPTP broke off talks over a revenue sharing proposal for streaming services that the studios called financially untenable. The proposal would see studios send a percentage of streaming revenue to SAG-AFTRA, estimated by the union to be 57 cents per subscriber, that would in turn be distributed to members.
Talks resumed on Oct. 24 after phone calls between Iger, Drescher and Crabtree-Ireland. While the talks between studio CEOs and the Writers Guild of America were marked by a breakthrough studio counterproposal on key issues that led to rapid momentum towards a deal being reached, studio insiders told TheWrap that talks between SAG-AFTRA and the CEOs were marked by the two sides inching towards compromises on the most important issues, including minimum rate increases, streaming compensation and consent on AI-generated replicas of performers.
The negotiations reached their home stretch on Nov. 4, as all of the CEOs of the AMPTP member studios were on hand for a virtual meeting in which they presented the guild their “best, last and final offer.” The guild’s negotiating committee spent several days poring over the offer, with particular focus on AI protections.
Exact details of the contract are still forthcoming, but studio insiders said that the two sides compromised on minimum rate increases. Actors will receive a higher percentage increase on minimums in the first year of the contract than the 5% negotiated by the WGA and DGA, but lower than the 11% first proposed by the guild.
The AMPTP was also adamant on not agreeing to any revenue sharing model on streaming, instead pushing for a bonus structure similar to the one agreed upon with the WGA that would see actors on a project receive additional cash for movies and TV episodes viewed by a certain percentage of a streaming service’s viewership base.
Insiders say that the AMPTP increased the size of the bonus compensation package in its counteroffers, including in its final proposal, but did not yield on revenue sharing.
While Hollywood is now a ratification vote away from being able to get cameras rolling again, several motion picture divisions at the major studios have already made major changes to their 2024 release slates, delaying films that were not expected to be completed in time due to the actors’ strike.
Among the films delayed are Paramount’s “Mission: Impossible 8,” pushing back from June 2024 to Memorial Day weekend in 2025. Disney moved their live-action remake of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” starring Rachel Zegler back a whole year to March 2025, while the Pixar film “Elio” moved back even further to June 2025.
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