Sunday did not see a lot of action between SAG-AFTRA and the studios as the actors guild strike hit its 115th day.
“The guild is still reviewing the proposals,” a well-positioned SAG-AFTRA member tells Deadline.
Following a brief virtual meeting with CEOs on Saturday, guild leaders continued today to look over the so-called “last, best and final offer” the studios put on the table Friday.
Guild brass including National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland started their day around 10 a.m., going over the document that studio executives perhaps hyperbolically termed “historic.”
“There’s a lot to digest here,” a guild insider told Deadline about SAG-AFTRA’s review of the studios’ response proposals. “This simply takes time to review and to respond.”
For now, there are no official meetings between the parties scheduled for Monday or later this week.
Unsurprisingly, SAG-AFTRA has pickets scheduled in front of studio lots and offices in both Los Angeles and New York on Monday, as they have since the guild went out on strike in mid-July.
Monday actually sees the guild turning the pickets into a little bit of collectible fun:
Sunday also saw a passionate declaration of support for guild president Fran Drescher, who has been much attacked by a whisper campaign during the past few weeks, and the guild itself, with member and Star Trek alum Zachary Quinto telling her, “You are in an impossibly difficult position right now — and you are bearing up with grace and dignity and power and I am so impressed with by how you handled yourself — and this negotiation — every step of the way.
“The AMPTP is trying to capitalize on fatigue and harness pressure from the industry at large (agencies and studios especially) to break our resolve and have you and your incredible negotiating committee accept whatever it is they’ve thrown at us and say thank you,” added the American Horror Story actor and frequent picket line attendee.
“Their decision to use ‘last best and final’ language in their most recent counter proposal tips their hand and shows that they are relying on intimidation and not fairness to bring this strike to an end.”
Quinto expounded in a second post on Instagram via video, “We cannot accept a deal that doesn’t protect us moving forward. We’ve got to hold strong, that is what a union is about.
“I will hit that picket line on Monday,” he continued. “I will hit that picket line as many more days as is necessary to take care of ourselves and to take care of one another.
“I hope this deal is acceptable, but I’m not so sure and I hope that our leadership recognizes that, and I hope our leadership knows that we’re behind them, we support them, we’re grateful for them and we empower them to represent us fiercely for what we deserve,” Quinto said.
Watch the video below:
For the past couple of weeks, the studios privately have been stressing the need for a completed deal by the end of October/beginning of November to maintain a schedule in which a TV season is salvageable and a 2024 movie slate can move forward.
In many ways, that calendar is subjective, and we all know if Hollywood got back to work, productions could start up pretty quickly — especially with the writers finalizing their deal with the AMPTP in late September.
However, as always, this comes down to money.
Several of the studios have earnings reports coming in the next week with Wall Street very much on the lookout for weaker estimates going into next year. Paramount Global cited a $60M hit in “strike-related idle costs,” this week while Netflix begin a fresh round of layoffs in its drama and overall deals department. The streamer, which currently counts $6.5 billion in free cash flow from the strikes, could see that promptly in the new year as Netflix tries to catch up on lost production time during the strikes.
Other companies forced to make cuts due to the strike include Amazon, Warner Bros. Discovery, Disney, ESPN, Paramount, Conde Nast, Spotify, Fifth Season, Vice, Lionsgate and Roku.
For certain, the dual strikes have turned the TV and film release schedules upside down next year, with as many as nine empty weekends on the movie release calendar sans wide releases from studios. With actors not permitted to promote their movies, studios have shifted big tentpoles off the calendar. The U.S. box office also has taken a hit, with this past weekend grossing $63.3M — the 10th time this fall that the B.O. has failed to hit the $100M threshold.
Studio sources wonder whether the gains made during the actors strike could ever make up for the greater loss weathered by the entire industry, especially for below-the-line workers who are burning through their savings to survive as the production stoppage continues. However, the actors are looking for fair compensation in the streaming era and AI protection that hasn’t been doled out to them in an industry of change that has seen the number of series episodes dwindle and seasons as well.
The double strikes saw the California economy take a loss of $6.5 billion, with 45,000 jobs lost.
We heard there were some minorly bruised egos over the CEOs’ Zoom call on Saturday, but attorneys on both sides continued to talk thereafter. That CEO Zoom, in addition to the Gang of Four — NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, Warner Bros Discovery’s David Zaslav and Disney’s Bob Iger — also counted the attendance of Paramount Pictures CEO Brian Robbins, Disney Entertainment Co-Chairs Dana Walden and Alan Bergman, Amazon Studios’ Mike Hopkins and Jen Salke, Sony Pictures chair Tony Vinciquerra and Apple Studios’ Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg.
The proposal put forth by the studios reportedly contains the highest wage increase for thespians in 40 years and a 100% raise in performance compensation bonuses for high-budget streaming series and films. In addition, there were so-called “full” AI protections in the offer, terms which went “a long way to what SAG wanted,” per an industry source Saturday.