Actors Get Back to Work After Successful Negotiations Between SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP

SAG AFTRA Actors strike

After 118 days of industry disruption, SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher announced that a deal was reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) to end the actors strike. The Screen Actors Guild + American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) members are free to resume working, bringing a sigh of relief to the actors and the production team of all the projects that were abruptly suspended back in July.

Fran Drescher President SAG Aftra

New episodes of TV shows typically take the summer off leaving room for the heavily promoted summer blockbusters to hit theaters. With the strike happening in the summer of 2023, movies were still released but any promotion by the actors was not permitted. Considering promotion has been known to account for 25-50% of the total movie budget (like how 2022’s Marvel Studios blockbuster Thor: Love and Thunder cost $250 million to make and $100 million to promote), a lack of press tours may have left dollars on the table for the movie production companies.

Household name actors aside, Hollywood is not so friendly to unknown names or background extras. Minimum pay was low, streaming revenue didn’t pay, and AI was positioned to be utilized by the production companies in any way the see fit. SAG-AFTRA was able to secure a deal that brings solutions for some of these concerns.

Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller On the Picket Lines
Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller On the Picket Lines – GOTHAM/GC IMAGES

SAG-AFTRA’s deal

  • More than one billion dollars in new wages and benefit plan funding;
  • A streaming participation bonus;
  • Minimum compensation increases that break the so-called “industry pattern;” 
  • For the first time, consent and compensation guardrails on the use of AI;
  • Raised Pension & Health caps that will channel more value into our funds; and 
  • Critical protections for diverse communities.

Studio heads are way out of touch

The heads of the studios and their tens of millions of dollars seem to forget just how they are able to keep their outrageous income. Disney’s CEO Bob Iger, with his $31 million dollar annual income, was outspoken about how the demands were unrealistic. Meanwhile, the actors and writers are the ones making the content that pays his massive income.

Disney CEO Bob Iger says Actors & Writers are not ‘being realistic’

These media CEOs are certainly out of touch, especially since they are accustomed to receiving millions of dollars year over year for increase in pay. Other CEOs are making just as much, if not more. Netflix CEO Greg Peters ($34.7 million) and Paramount CEO Bob Bakish ($32 million) are just a few of the CEOs working for the companies fighting against the writers and actors for their asks.

Delays and Scheduling Conflicts For Actors Push Release Dates Further Away assembed a short list of the productions that are ready to resume:

Movie projects resuming production

  • “Deadpool 3” (Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
  • “Gladiator 2” (Paramount Pictures)
  • “Beetlejuice 2” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
  • Untitled “Venom” sequel (Sony Pictures Releasing)
  • “It Ends With Us” (Sony Pictures Releasing)
Stranger Things Season 5
Stranger Things Instagram Post

TV shows resuming production

  • “Abbott Elementary” Season 3 (ABC)
  • “Young Sheldon” season 7 (CBS)
  • “Severance” Season 2 (Apple TV+)
  • “Euphoria” Season 3 (HBO)
  • “The Last of Us” Season 2 (HBO)
  • “The White Lotus” Season 3 (HBO)
  • “Hacks” Season 3 (Max)
  • “Stranger Things” Season 5 (Netflix) 
  • “Wednesday” Season 2 (Netflix)
  • “Yellowjackets” Season 3 (Showtime)

Release dates for these and for all projects that were impacted by the strike will likely be “pending” for a bit. If there were season premieres or movie releases on your radar for 2024, there is a chance that it could be 2025 or later until it will be ready for the public. For now, the media companies can enjoy investing $500,000 or more to restart the projects that were left on hold while SAG-AFTRA negotiated for better terms for their 160,000 members and set up guardrails for the future of AI in the movie industry.

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