In a momentous development for the entertainment industry, Hollywood actors have reached a tentative agreement with major studios, bringing an end to the second strike that has disrupted the sector.
The strike, which persisted for 118 days, concluded just after midnight, as announced by the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) union. The negotiation committee unanimously supported the deal, which encompassed industry giants like Walt Disney and Netflix, among others.
Valued at over $1 billion, this three-year contract introduces substantial improvements, which include increased minimum salaries and a novel bonus from streaming services, according to the union. Furthermore, it offers protections against the unauthorized use of images generated by artificial intelligence (AI), addressing concerns from performers who feared being replaced by digital counterparts.
The union conveyed its excitement, stating, “We have arrived at a contract that will enable SAG-AFTRA members from every category to build sustainable careers.” The news was met with jubilation across Los Angeles, as the resolution of the actors’ strike signals a return to full-scale production for the first time since May, when film and TV writers initiated their own strike.
Celebratory scenes unfolded at various venues, with actors cheering and chanting “When we fight, we win!” at one brewpub. Actor Evan Shafran remarked on the prevailing sentiment, saying, “It’s just such a feeling of joy, and of triumph over adversity, and not quitting.” Jessica Brown, another SAG-AFTRA member, was still processing the news, exclaiming, “My brain is still just trying to catch up and process. Oh my god. We did it.”
The agreement’s announcement had an immediate impact on the financial markets, with shares of television and film production companies rallying in premarket trading. Walt Disney shares surged by 4.5%, Warner Bros Discovery gained 2.5%, and Paramount Global increased by 2.7%.
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which negotiated on behalf of the studios, heralded the agreement as “a new paradigm,” providing the union with its “biggest contract-on-contract gains” in its history. They expressed their eagerness to see the industry resuming its storytelling work.
SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher tweeted out President Biden’s reaction to the settlement saying, “We did it!”
Other actors, ranging from Mark Ruffalo to Octavia Spencer, had similar reactions:
The strike had a ripple effect, causing significant disruptions across the industry and leading to lost output exceeding $6 billion in California, as estimated by the Milken Institute. With limited opportunities for work, many crew members, including prop masters and costume designers, faced financial hardships. FilmLA, the entity responsible for approving filming permits, reported a 77% drop in scripted production during the week of October 29 compared to the same period the previous year.
Hollywood’s work stoppages occurred amidst a year marked by other high-profile labor actions. The United Auto Workers recently concluded a six-week strike at Detroit car manufacturers, while teachers, nurses, and healthcare workers also participated in job actions.
These strikes forced broadcast networks to rely on reruns, game shows, and reality programming for their fall lineups. Additionally, movie studios postponed major releases, such as Dune: Part 2, and rescheduled other highly anticipated films, like the next Mission: Impossible installment and Disney’s live-action remake of Snow White, until 2025.
The resolution of the actors’ strike comes as a significant relief to the entertainment industry, allowing it to bounce back after a period of uncertainty and disruption. As the sector gets back on track, industry professionals and audiences can once again look forward to an exciting array of new content and storytelling.
The SAG-AFTRA national board will convene to consider the agreement on Friday, with a final ratification vote by members anticipated in the coming weeks.
For Reel 360 News’ full strike coverage, click here.