Four CEOs are scheduled to return to SAG-AFTRA headquarters Tuesday with a new show they hope will break the deadlock in the 102-day actors’ strike.
Among them is Disney’s Bob Iger, who called SAG-AFTRA’s chief negotiator, Duncan Crabtree from Ireland, on Saturday to invite the actors back to the negotiating table.
The CEOs — who also include Warner Bros.’ David Zaslav — are looking forward to launching the project. Discovery, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, and NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley — to secure a deal as soon as possible, hoping to salvage the box office next summer and part of 2023. 24 TV season.
Paramount announced Monday that it will postpone the next “Mission: Impossible” sequel from June 2024 to May 2025. More delays could follow if the strike is not resolved soon.
Iger’s call lifted the morale of SAG-AFTRA’s leadership, who saw it as confirmation that the union had the leverage to win a transformative deal.
“We’ve got the wind at our backs,” said one person on the union side.
In an interview, Crabtree-Ireland said he was also optimistic.
“There is no way to make progress without talking,” he added. “Their presence in the room is important. If it’s accompanied by significant movement on key pieces, even better.”
The union seeks to provide artificial intelligence protection and an 11% increase in the basic minimum. But the main hurdle remains SAG-AFTRA’s demand to cut streaming revenue.
Talks collapsed on October 11 after the guild proposed charging a fee of 57 cents per subscriber to all streaming platforms, which would cost studios about $500 million annually. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said it would constitute an “unsustainable economic burden.”
The dramatic shift in the entertainment business model requires significant improvement in the compensation structure, said Fran Drescher, president of SAG-AFTRA.
Actors Receive The remaining $91.7 million came from streaming in 2019 — more than was earned from network reruns, but less than the amount that came from basic cable or from pay TV channels like HBO and Showtime. The union received a raise in 2020, and the total number rose to about $126 million in 2022, according to the union.
CEOs have already agreed to increase that number again to take into account foreign subscribers, and have also offered a residual bonus based on viewership similar to the deal reached with the Writers Guild of America.
The latter will pay about $20 million annually, SAG-AFTRA said. The guild said this amount was too low, and that the deal negotiated by the WGA would not be enough for the actors.
The CEOs are expected to present their new offer on Tuesday, which is believed to be a significant improvement on the previous proposal.
Although the talks have been suspended for nearly two weeks, the two sides are still working on elements of the contract. AMPTP filed a response to the AI last Thursday.
The union seeks to set minimum conditions for the use of artificial intelligence, including compensation and consent. The union also wants to restrict AI training to actors’ work. The WGA also sought to ban such training, but did not obtain that ruling.
On the studio side, there is hope, if not optimism, that an agreement can be reached soon. CEOs grew frustrated with Drescher, who spoke in the negotiating room about income inequality and her ambition to change actors’ lives.
“It seems to me that they are more concerned with their legacy than with ending the Hollywood disaster that is entirely within their control,” said Jeff Rotheser, ABC’s longtime senior vice president of labor relations and author of a memoir, “The Labor Party.” “The pains.” “They can’t figure out how to end it safely and declare the victory they’ve already achieved.”
The upbeat mood in the actors’ camp marks a change from last week, when leadership was facing pressure from George Clooney and other prominent members to make a deal and backlash on social media over directives that restricted members’ Halloween costumes.
No one expects an agreement to be reached on Tuesday, even under the best circumstances. With dozens of unresolved items, it may take days or even a week or more to reach a comprehensive agreement.
The union is seeking to increase the maximum contributions to pension and health, the maximum number of pages on self-recorded auditions, and several other items, including a dry cleaning stipend for background actors.
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