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Hollywood Actors Set to Strike, Joining Writers on Picket Lines

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Hollywood Actors Set to Strike, Joining Writers on Picket Lines

Hollywood Actors Set to Strike at midnight, joining the film and television writers who have been on picket lines since May. The breakdown of talks with studios has deepened the disruption in the industry, affecting numerous shows and movies.

Hollywood Actors Set to Strike, Joining Writers on Picket Lines

This will mark the first dual work stoppage in 63 years, causing a halt in many productions across the United States and abroad. The simultaneous strikes by the actors and writers will further damage the economy, adding to the struggles faced by an industry grappling with evolving business dynamics.

SAG-AFTRA, Hollywood’s largest union representing 160,000 film and television actors, along with the Writers Guild of America (WGA), are demanding increases in base pay and residuals in the streaming TV era. They also seek assurances that their work will not be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI).

The actors’ union announced their strike plans during a press conference on Thursday, stating that the walkout has received unanimous authorization from the national board.

During the conference, Fran Drescher, former star of “The Nanny” TV show and the president of SAG-AFTRA, expressed her disappointment with the studios’ responses, deeming them “insulting and disrespectful.” Drescher further criticized the significant disparity on various issues, with studios claiming financial constraints while generously compensating their CEOs.

Hollywood Actors Set to Strike, Joining Writers on Picket Lines

In response, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the trade association negotiating on behalf of companies like Netflix and Walt Disney, expressed deep disappointment with SAG-AFTRA’s decision to walk away from negotiations. The AMPTP stated that they had offered the highest percentage increases in minimum pay levels in 35 years, along with substantial improvements in pension and healthcare contribution caps. They also proposed a groundbreaking AI agreement to protect actors’ digital likenesses.

The ongoing strike by approximately 11,500 writers has already caused significant disruptions, such as endless reruns of late-night television talk shows, production delays for the fall TV season, and the halting of work on major movies.

The forthcoming walkout by SAG-AFTRA, representing actors ranging from bit-part players to Hollywood’s biggest stars, will effectively shut down the studios’ remaining U.S.-based film and scripted television productions. It will also impede overseas shoots involving SAG-AFTRA talent, such as the filming of Paramount Pictures’ sequel to “Gladiator” in Morocco and Malta, helmed by director Ridley Scott.

Certain production activities not involving SAG-AFTRA performers, such as location scouting or post-production editing, may proceed. However, the absence of actors, who will also refrain from promoting their projects during the strike, will intensify pressure on media companies to find a resolution.

This simultaneous strike is a rare occurrence, last witnessed in 1960 when the WGA and the Screen Actors Guild engaged in a dispute over residuals from films sold to TV networks.

Speaking from a media and tech gathering in Idaho, Disney CEO Bob Iger expressed his concern over the unions’ expectations, emphasizing the detrimental impact of the strikes amid the entertainment industry’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hollywood Actors Set to Strike, Joining Writers on Picket Lines

Actors argue that the streaming era has made it increasingly difficult to sustain their livelihoods, especially for the many SAG-AFTRA members who are not widely recognized. Actor Matt Damon, during a promotional event for the film “Oppenheimer,” highlighted the need for fair allocation of profits, as residual payments contribute to many actors’ ability to meet the $26,000 threshold required for health insurance eligibility.

While streaming services have yet to turn a profit, having invested billions in programming to attract customers, traditional revenue streams such as television ads have dwindled due to declining TV audiences and below-pre-pandemic movie ticket sales.

The impending strikes by Hollywood actors will likely exacerbate the challenges faced by the industry, compelling stakeholders to seek a resolution that addresses the concerns of both the actors and writers, while ensuring the long-term sustainability of the entertainment sector.

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FAQs about the Hollywood Actors Set to Strike:

Q: Why are Hollywood Actors Set to Strike?

A: Hollywood Actors Set to Strike to demand increases in base pay and residuals in the streaming TV era. They also want assurances that their work will not be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI).

Q: When will the actors’ strike begin?

A: The Hollywood Actors Set to Strike at midnight.

Q: Are the writers and actors striking together?

A: Yes, the writers have been on picket lines since May, and now the actors are joining them in a dual work stoppage.

Q: How will the strikes impact the industry?

A: The strikes will disrupt numerous shows and movies, halting many productions across the United States and abroad. This will have a significant economic impact on the industry.

Q: What are the studios offering to the actors and writers?

A: The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) has offered the actors and writers various benefits, including increases in minimum pay levels, improvements in pension and healthcare contributions, and a groundbreaking AI agreement to protect actors’ digital likenesses.

Q: What is the response from the actors’ union?

A: The actors’ union, SAG-AFTRA, announced the strike after their national board unanimously authorized the walkout. The union’s president, Fran Drescher, expressed disappointment with the studios’ responses, considering them “insulting and disrespectful.”

Q: How will the strikes affect TV shows and movies?

A: The strikes have already caused disruptions, such as endless reruns of late-night talk shows and production delays for the fall TV season. With the actors joining the strike, it will effectively shut down the studios’ remaining U.S.-based film and scripted television productions, as well as hinder overseas shoots involving SAG-AFTRA talent.

Q: When was the last time there were simultaneous strikes in Hollywood?

A: The last time Hollywood faced simultaneous strikes was in 1960 when the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) both went on strike over residuals from films sold to TV networks.

Q: How do actors feel about the streaming era’s impact on their livelihoods?

A: Actors argue that the rise of the streaming era has made it harder for them to earn a living, particularly for those who are not household names. They highlight the need for fair allocation of profits and proper compensation, as residual payments play a significant role in meeting health insurance eligibility thresholds.

Q: How are the strikes affecting the industry’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic?

A: The strikes add further disruption to an industry already recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Disney CEO Bob Iger expressed concern over the strikes, stating that this is the worst time to add more disruption to the industry.

Q: Are streaming services profitable?

A: Many streaming services have yet to turn a profit, as they have invested significant amounts of money in programming to attract customers. Traditional revenue streams, such as television ads, have also declined due to shrinking TV audiences and below-pre-pandemic movie ticket sales.

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