SAG-AFTRA Strike to End Thursday After 118 Days

  • SAG-AFTRA has reached a tentative agreement to end its strike against the Hollywood studios.
  • The strike lasted 118 days, and, along with the Hollywood writers’ strike, halted most film and TV production.
  • While some productions will start up again right away, the 2024 summer movie season may be lackluster.

The actors’ union, SAG-AFTRA, announced Wednesday evening that it had secured a tentative deal with Hollywood studios to end a strike of nearly four months, a spokesperson for the guild confirmed to Insider.

Now, the strike is set to officially conclude at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, November 9, the SAG-AFTRA spokesperson said.

“In a unanimous vote this afternoon, The SAG-AFTRA TV/Theatrical Committee approved a tentative agreement with the AMPTP bringing an end to the 118-day strike,” the statement from the actors’ guild read. The acronym AMPTP stands for the Alliance for Motion Picture and Television Producers, the trade association that negotiates on behalf of hundreds of leading Hollywood companies.

Members of the actors’ union will still have to ratify the deal reached by their negotiators, but the end of the labor stoppage also means the end to a bruising period that has contributed to the loss of billions of dollars for the California economy and the entertainment industry. The guild’s national board will review the tentative deal on Friday, November 10, after which the union said “further details” would be released.

The end of the strike means Hollywood can finally exhale after months of tension on the picket lines, the loss of tens of thousands of jobs, and economic carnage stemming from a paralyzed industry.

Writers are back on the job already — after the Writers Guild of America sealed its own deal with the entertainment companies in late September to end a strike that began in May — which means that film and TV production can gear up again. But many movies and shows will wait until January to restart production.

The tentative agreement came after the AMPTP — whose member companies include major studios and streaming services, including Warner Bros. Discovery, Disney, and Netflix — put forth what it called the companies’ “last, best and final offer” on Saturday.

A challenging road

The battle between the actors and the studios, which began in July, has been contentious.

The two sides had previously returned to the bargaining table on October 24 and have been in continual negotiations since, with frequent participation from Disney CEO Bob Iger, NBCUniversal content chair Donna Langley, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos, and Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, who had all taken part in the AMPTP’s final weeks of negotiations with the WGA. More recent meetings with SAG-AFTRA also included top execs from Apple, Amazon, Paramount, and Sony, affirming the urgency of finding a resolution.

Talks had broken down earlier in October over SAG-AFTRA’s proposal to charge the studios a fee per platform subscriber, which the studios rejected, with Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos characterizing it as a “levy.”

On October 27, more than 3,600 actors — including many well-known names like Debra Messing and Pedro Pascal — signed an open letter affirming they’d “rather stay on strike than accept a bad deal.”

In recent weeks, the studios had pressed union leadership for a deal, according to multiple reports, warning that a further delay in production could heavily impact the 2024 summer movie schedule. While 2023 has seen some box office highs, most notably the summer’s Barbenheimer phenomenon, movie theaters, and Hollywood studios are still struggling to recover from the pandemic drop in theatergoing.

Universal and Blumhouse’s “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” for example, is the highest-grossing horror film of the year after its $80 million domestic opening at the box office the weekend before Halloween. But its box office slumped 76% in its second weekend.

SAG-AFTRA members, who number more than 150,000, first hit the picket lines on July 14, joining over 10,000 WGA members who started their strike on May 2. Writers returned to work on September 30, with their guild continuing to express solidarity with the actors.

The joint walkout marked the first time in more than 60 years that both guilds organized a labor action against the studios, and it hit the entertainment industry hard.

The writers’ walkout halted production on most films and scripted TV series, and the actors’ strike shuttered the rest — though many projects with no direct ties to the eight member companies of the AMPTP were able to secure interim agreements from SAG-AFTRA allowing them to continue.

Late-night television shows, which went dark as soon as the WGA strike began, were back on the air in early October. Broadcast networks’ fall TV schedules were loaded with reality series, whose writers aren’t subject to the WGA agreement and whose casts are not professional actors.

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