After a week of silence, the actors’ union and AMPTP are set to return to talks on Tuesday, October 24.
“SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP will be bargaining on Tuesday, October 24 at the SAG-AFTRA Plaza. Several executives from AMPTP member companies will attend,” read a statement from SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP today.
While SAG-AFTRA says the studios walked away from the table on Oct. 11, SAG-AFTRA chief negotiator and national executive director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland told Deadline on Thursday that he is “hopeful” the two sides will sit across the table. Soon.
Crabtree-Ireland said, “I didn’t expect it [negotiations] It would take so long…the amount of time spent without negotiations is completely unconscionable. Studios and streamers need to be back at the table with us now. They should have been there for the first 80 days but they weren’t. I am very excited to see it and hope it happens soon. I think there’s a lot of pressure going on outside of formal channels to get people back to the table, so I’m optimistic that will happen soon. But I know we will stand strong and get a fair deal.
While it’s not uncommon for labor talks to start, stop, and restart, as we’ve seen recently with the WGA and the studios, these particular discussions seem to be due in no small part to SAG’s shambolic PR campaign against the studios. -AFTRA, sources on both sides tell us.
SAG-AFTRA on Oct. 11 proposed an annual fee of 75 cents per subscriber in a revenue-sharing plan with studios. At a Bloomberg conference the next day, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos called such a fee “a tax on subscribers.” [other] areas” as well as “a bridge too far.” SAG-AFTRA chief negotiator and national executive director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland blasted Sarandos’ statement as “outrageous” in an interview with Deadline last Saturday. That didn’t stop the studios from asking the guild, calling it an “unacceptable financial burden.” In a public statement, it said it would cost $2.4 billion over the course of a new three-year contract, or more than $800 million a year. SAG-AFTRA responded that the studios “deliberately misrepresented the cost of the aforementioned project to the press — overstating it by 60%.”
On Tuesday, Hollywood’s biggest stars gathered in a Zoom call with SAG-AFTRA leaders to pledge $150 million over three years to eliminate union dues to bring more coin into guild coffers and suggest a streamer residual structure that would keep actors. At the bottom of the callsheet before them. The hope is that getting the money faster will help struggling actors qualify for benefits.
Timeline tells you that George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Kerry Washington, Tyler Perry, Bradley Cooper, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Aniston, Robert De Niro, Ben Affleck, Laura Dern, Emma Stone, Reese Reinspoon, Ryan Witherspoon, Ryan Reinspoon, and the Razbies are on the list. First reported. and Ariana DeBose.
However, union president Fran Drescher later said such a move would be inconsistent with the agreement SAG-AFTRA was trying to negotiate.
Drescher said Thursday night on Instagram that the Clooney offer “doesn’t affect the deal we’re striking out at.” Declines the offer.
“Having higher paid members contribute more…stop dues…we’re a federally regulated labor union and the only contribution that can go to our pension and health. Funding has to come from the employer. So what we’re fighting for in terms of benefits has to be in this contract.
“SAG-AFTRA members have been systematically squeezed out of the ability to make a living because of the streaming model, which cuts the number of episodes per season by two-thirds and the number of seasons by two-thirds. Syndication tails off,” Drescher said in an exclusive open letter to Deadline today on the guild’s 100th day of strike action.
He added, “This dramatic contraction of employment opportunities and inadequate compensation has had a devastating effect on the working actors and traveling actors who bring movies and television shows to life. It has compromised their ability to pay their rent, put food on the table, and put clothes on their children’s backs.
Along with the WGA strike that ended on September 27, the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike has cost the California economy $5 billion. 45K jobs have been lost at the box office, down close to $400M from the pre-pandemic 2019 post-Labor Day act.
As the writers’ rooms begin, the start of the new season hangs in the balance. Expected to air in January 2024 as the studios reached an agreement with the writers, they were hopeful that the cast would sign immediately. That’s not happening because SAG-AFTRA is determined to get better terms on streaming royalties/revenue share and rights to actors used by AI.
As part of the strike, there will be collateral damage to the theatrical release calendar. After theaters closed for nearly a year due to Covid-19 with the help of the US government, the box office rebounded, but did not reach pre-pandemic levels of $11 billion domestically. With major studio Hollywood shutterings worldwide, it’s literally forcing the majors to delay movies, leaving gaps in the release calendar, and leaving the debt-laden exhibition pipeline in dire straits. Marvel Studios’ deadpool 3, It’s only half complete, and even if the strike ends in the near future, it won’t meet its May 3 early-summer release date.
Deadline’s Rosie Cordero contributed to this article.