The historic strike representing 160,000 members of The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) has come to an end. The strike, which commenced on July 14, lasted 118 days.
Hollywood has effectively been shut down for approximately four months, with the Writers Guild of America (WGA) simultaneously striking with SAG-AFTRA. This is the first time in over 60 years that both unions were on strike, forcing production in Hollywood to grind to a halt.
Though the WGA strike ended in September, the deal for actors was not reached until nearly a month later. Previous talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) have ended in a stalemate, and even saw studios offering less than what the union initially proposed.
The breakthrough three-year contract worth over US$1 billion includes a 7% wage increase for actors, streaming bonuses, disclosure of viewership statistics, and protection for actors regarding the use of artificial intelligence.
The unprecedented strike that commenced earlier this year was formed in light of SAG-AFTRA members seeking better pay with the rise of the streaming era as well as concerns surrounding the use of artificial intelligence.
The unregulated use of artificial intelligence was also a contentious part of the negotiations
The rise of streaming services have introduced a new demographic to shows that have finished their run on broadcast television, most notably legal drama Suits, which drew in 18 billion minutes of viewing in the month of July this year. However even more notably is how the actors and writers of Suits will not see a sizable check from these numbers, despite being one of the most streamed shows this year.
Actors were banned from promoting any upcoming projects, attending premieres, and taking on any struck work
The unregulated use of artificial intelligence was also a contentious part of the negotiations between the union and studios. “If we don’t stand tall right now, we are all going to be in jeopardy of being replaced by machines,” echoes Fran Drescher, the President of SAG-AFTRA.
Under the strike, actors were banned from promoting any upcoming projects, attending premieres, and taking on any struck work. The goal was to pressure studios into accepting the terms laid out by the union, which commenced with the cast of Oppenheimer leaving the red carpet premiere after the strike was announced in July.
Several projects, such as the ‘Hunger Games’ Prequel ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’, have landed interim agreements from SAG-AFTRA, which allowed actors of the projects to promote the film during the strike.
Projects who failed to secure interim agreements have struggled at the box office
Rachel Zegler, who stars in the prequel, thanked Lionsgate on Instagram, stating that their “efforts are proof that studios, big and small, can meet us in a place of fairness for their films and the people who work so hard to make them”.
Projects who failed to secure interim agreements have struggled at the box office, with several films seeing their release date being pushed back to 2024.
Though many actors have taken to social media to celebrate the end of the strike, not everyone was satisfied with the agreement. SAG-AFTRA negotiating committee member Kevin E West expressed that the agreement was “not perfect”, with various other committee members echoing the sentiment that “not all of the union’s demands were met”.
The strike has cost studios an estimated US$6.5 billion
Production for the most popular shows including Grey’s Anatomy, Abbott Elementary, Law & Order and One Chicago franchises are set to commence in late-November. Netflix has also announced the cancellation of a slew of shows including Shadow and Bone, enraging fans of shows. TV series 9-1-1: Lone Star was recently announced to be delayed until Fall 2024, with an order of 10 episodes as opposed to the usual order of 18.
The strike has cost studios an estimated US$6.5 billion, with many residual effects anticipated as production starts up again. For an industry that was only just recovering from the effects of the shutdown from COVID-19, this strike undoubtedly has debilitating consequences for Hollywood.
For more content including Uni News, Reviews, Entertainment, Lifestyle, Features and so much more, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like our Facebook page for more articles and information on how to get involved.