The lengthy strike by SAG-AFTRA members, which has stretched 114 days, has taken an intriguing turn as the studios delivered a new proposal to the guild. The news, however, comes with a word of caution: a resolution might not be imminent, as SAG-AFTRA leaders need to thoroughly review the document before resuming negotiations.
“Dear SAG-AFTRA Members,
The Negotiating Committee will be meeting Saturday morning to prepare for across the table talks with the AMPTP in the afternoon.
In solidarity and gratitude,
Your TV/Theatrical Negotiating Committee”
While studio CEOs – Bob Iger, Donna Langley, David Zaslav and Ted Sarandos – are expected to participate directly in this weekend’s negotiations with Fran Drescher and Duncan Craabtree-Ireland, insiders suggest that the expectation of a new three-year contract within 48 hours should be tempered. A well-positioned source within the guild expressed the need for a comprehensive review before moving forward.
This development follows a week marked by shifting tones in the negotiations. Talks, which had carried an air of optimism, took a turn towards pessimism as the guild awaited a formal response to its most recent counter-proposals. However, a studio insider dismissed the mounting anxiety, attributing the delay to the desire to present a full package.
The urgency to resolve the strike and salvage the TV season and 2024 film schedule remains. But, according to sources, the idea of the latest proposal being the final offer from the AMPTP is “premature.”
According to Deadline, conversations and back-channeling between the two sides occurred in the lead-up to the studios’ latest proposal, even though the guild had expressed frustration over the extended response time. However, these discussions did not result in a formal reply from the studios regarding the guild’s AI proposal or comprehensive counter.
The involvement of key industry figures in crafting the response to SAG-AFTRA’s proposals underscores the importance of finding a resolution. The CEOs are expected to participate either in person or virtually in the upcoming talks.
Deadline goes further to say that a whisper campaign against the SAG-AFTRA leadership and an attempt to divide and conquer members have been observed from the other side. Despite these tactics, they appear to have had limited success.
SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher voiced her hopes for progress on Instagram, urging the AMPTP CEOs to “resurface with a seal the deal counter.”
Intriguingly, there are reported demands from SAG-AFTRA regarding digital stunt doubles and the number of digital extras used in scenes. These issues, with implications for directors and the balance between real-life actors and digital extras, have been points of contention.
The studios’ delay in responding to SAG-AFTRA’s counter-proposals raises questions, given their eagerness to restart TV and feature production. While the strike’s impact on the entertainment industry is visible, the effect on the California economy has been substantial, with an estimated loss of $6.5 billion and over 45,000 jobs lost due to the strikes.
New Line’s remake of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot, is reportedly going to Max after the film was pulled from its post-Labor Day 2022 theatrical release. In addition, three big tentpoles — Mission: Impossible 8, Disney/Pixar’s Elio, and Disney’s Snow White — move to 2025 could result in an estimated $1.5 billion hit to next year’s box office returns.
As negotiations resume, industry observers are eagerly awaiting the next steps in this lengthy labor dispute.
For Reel 360 News’ full strike coverage, click here.