- Hollywood’s actors union on Thursday announced a strike against film and television studios after talks over pay and other working conditions broke down.
- During the negotiations, major premieres were held around the world for summer films including Warner’s BarbieUniversal Oppenheimer and Paramount Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1.
- Had the strike begun earlier, stars like Tom Cruise, Margot Robbie, and Ryan Gosling would have had to skip glitzy red carpet events—a major tool studios use to drum up publicity and, hopefully, box office receipts.
- Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) president Fran Drescher said their “door is open to continuing negotiations” with the likes of Netflix and Disney.
Syndicate president Fran Drescher told AFP on Thursday that Hollywood actors were “tricked” into a two-week extension of negotiations by studios who wanted more time to promote their summer blockbusters.
The Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) last month delayed the deadline for the initial strike, hoping to strike a deal with the likes of Netflix and Disney over demands for better pay and more protections against artificial intelligence.
That extension failed to make any headway in the talks, which collapsed on Wednesday night, with the union representing some 160,000 artists calling a strike at midnight Thursday (0700 GMT Friday).
“We gave them, in good faith, an extension, hoping that they’d make in-depth progress, and we’d really have something to discuss,” Drescher, star and co-creator of the ’90s sitcom governesstold AFP.
“But we were cheated. They stayed behind closed doors, kept canceling our meetings, wasting time.”
“They probably had more time to promote their summer movies. Because nothing important came out of it.”
During that two-week period, major premieres were held around the world for summer films including Warner’s BarbieUniversal Oppenheimer and Paramount Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1.
SAG-AFTRA rules prohibit actors from promoting their films and shows while on strike.
Had the strike begun earlier, stars like Tom Cruise, Margot Robbie, and Ryan Gosling would have had to skip glitzy red carpet events—a major tool studios use to drum up publicity and, hopefully, box office receipts.
Red carpet premieres slated for the next few weeks, such as the Paramount shows, have now been cancelled Special Ops: Lionessor scale back, like Disney Haunted Palace.
“I was actually surprised. But I think maybe I was naive, because this was my first big negotiation,” said Drescher, SAG-AFTRA president elected in 2021.
“I really thought we could come to a meeting of minds. They could see how massively this new business model has been imposed on the entire industry,” she said, referring to the changes brought about by the influx.
One of the actors’ primary grievances relates to decreases in payments known as residual sums.
The large sums that performers used to receive when hit shows or movies they starred in were replayed on television are gone, because today operators refuse to divulge their audience numbers.
Instead, streamers pay the same flat rate for all programs available on their platforms, which can mean little return for global success.
“It’s crazy to me,” Drescher said, “that they don’t want to sit down and say, ‘We need to bring you through this in an honorable and respectful way, so you can live with this big change. ‘”
“The fact of the matter is that they didn’t.”
Despite her frustration with the studios, Drescher insisted, “SAG-AFTRA’s door is open for continuing negotiations.”
“The strike is not the end, it is just the next step. We would like to continue negotiating with him. But the ball is in their court.”