Studios Reportedly Seeing Progress in Talks with Striking Actors | ET REALITY


After several productive days at the negotiating table, Hollywood studios are increasingly optimistic that they are getting closer to a deal to end the 108-day actors’ strike, according to three people briefed on the matter.

These people, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the work situation, warned Sunday that some issues remain unresolved with the actors, including protections around the use of artificial intelligence technology to create digital replicas of their images. without payment or approval. But other knots had begun to unravel, the people said.

SAG-AFTRA, as the actors’ union is known, had been calling for an 11 percent increase in the minimum wage during the first year of the contract, for example. The studios had insisted they could offer no more than 5 percent, the same as the writers’ and directors’ unions had recently given (and agreed to). However, early last week, the studios raised their offer to 7 percent. On Friday, SAG-AFTRA had reduced its demand to 9 percent.

SAG-AFTRA did not respond to requests for comment. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which negotiates on behalf of major entertainment companies, declined to comment.

In an email to SAG-AFTRA members Friday night, the union’s bargaining committee said, “We completed a full and productive day.” On Saturday, the union sent out a routine reminder about pickets planned for next week, including one scheduled for Wednesday at Walt Disney Studios. The parties continued negotiating on Sunday.

Last week, studio executives made it known, in conversations with filmmakers, agents, reporters and the actors themselves, that a deal must be reached (or close to it) by the end of this week, or else the decorations remain dark for another two years. months.

Put another way, unless talks accelerate, January could be the first time casts (and crews) see their paychecks.

Brinkmanship? Of course. It’s a standard part of any strike. The companies, however, said they were simply pointing to the calendar. It will take time to reunite the creative teams, a process complicated by the upcoming holidays. Pre-production (before anyone meets on set) for new shows can take up to 12 weeks, while movies take about 16 weeks. Wait for the time for contract ratification by SAG-AFTRA members.

More than 4,000 actors, mostly everyday actors, responded on Thursday with a open letter to his union, saying: “We haven’t come this far to give in now.” They added: “We cannot and will not accept a contract that does not address the vital and existential problems that we all need to solve.”

At the same time, some stars have pressed union leaders to approach negotiations with greater urgency. Unemployed crew members have also become increasingly frustrated with Hollywood’s closure. The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, which represents 170,000 production crew members in North America, has estimated that its West Coast members alone have lost more than $1.4 billion in wages.

For their part, companies are under pressure to save their spring TV and movie schedules. On Friday, Disney delayed a live-action version of “Snow White,” which was scheduled for March 26, because it would be impossible to finish it in time. Earlier this week, Paramount delayed Tom Cruise’s upcoming movie, “Mission: Impossible,” along with “A Quiet Place: Day One,” starring Lupita Nyong’o.

The entertainment business has been paralyzed for months due to strikes by writers, who walked out in May, and actors, who joined them in July. The writers’ strike was resolved last month, raising hopes for a quick resolution between the studios and the actors union. Instead, the process has been slow.

Talks between the sides restarted on Tuesday after failing earlier this month over a union proposal for a per-subscriber fee for streaming services, which Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos publicly dismissed as a “tax” and “ “a bridge too far.” SAG-AFTRA accused studio executives of “bullying tactics.”

It is unclear how the transmission problem could be resolved. But there are real hopes in Hollywood that people will soon be able to get back to work.

“At this time, we do not have concrete information from any studies,” Michael Akins, an official with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees in Georgia, wrote to members on Friday. “But it’s clear that the industry shutdown is in its final days.”

Juan Koblin and Nicole Sperling contributed reports.

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