Since July 14, 2023, the actors’ union SAG-AFTRA has gone on strike, two months after the writers went on strike. While the writers got a new deal at the end of September, the actors kept striking. There was hope the studios could get back to negotiating with the actors once the Writers’ Strike ended, but it didn’t happen right away. Some talks would happen but then end with no deal. Talks wouldn’t happen for a few weeks. This resulted in the longest pause in Hollywood since COVID-19.
Finally, on November 8, 2023, SAG-AFTRA and the studios reached a new deal.
When the actors went on strike, all filming for movies and shows that fell under the studios was stopped. Movies such as Beetlejuice 2 and Deadpool 3 came to a halt. Some movies that wrapped up filming got delayed because the actors could not promote their upcoming movies during the strike. For example, Dune: Part II was supposed to come out on November 3, 2023, but got delayed to March 2024. While some movies didn’t get delayed, the actors couldn’t promote them or do interviews about the movies. The Marvels, which is looking to have one of the lowest opening weekends for an MCU movie, lacked any promotion from Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Teynoah Parris, and other stars from the movie. December movies such as Wonka and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom almost suffered the same issue.
Rumors were growing at the end of October and beginning of November that a deal could be reached. On November 4, SAG-AFTRA got an offer the studios claimed was the best and final offer. Two days later, SAG-AFTRA released a statement, saying they still had issues they didn’t agree with the studios on, mainly on AI. The studios wanted to pay the actors a one-time payment to get their likeness for life and put it in any project, even without the actors’ consent. This got a lot of backlash on social media. Negotiations continued after it came out, with WB Discovery CEO David Zaslav saying early on November 8 that the new offer they made addresses all the things actors want. Other CEOs were optimistic an agreement would be reached.
An agreement was reached later, on November 8. The negotiating committee voted unanimously to recommend the agreement to the SAG-AFTRA board. The new deal would last for three years, like the deal the studios reached with the writers. On November 9, at 12:01 a.m., the strike will officially be over. Actress Fran Drescher was president of SAG-AFTRA during this strike, never backing down from the studios and having the support of her union.
SAG-AFTRA released a statement about what is included in the contract, which is valued at 1 billion dollars. The actors will receive provisions for consent and compensation that will give protection from AI. They will receive a streaming participation bonus. Their pension and health caps have gone up. Background actors will get paid more. Actors will also receive an “above pattern” minimum compensation increase.
Depending on how quickly the members vote to ratify the new agreement, actors could get back to work right away. It’s unknown if other movies will get delayed. Deadpool 3 director Shawn Levy is looking to get back to filming by January. Tim Burton said Beetlejuice 2 only needs a day and a half left to film. Superman: Legacy looks to be on track to start filming in early 2024, hopefully making its July 11, 2025, release date. Mission: Impossible-Dead Reckoning Part 2 unfortunately got delayed to May 23, 2025, due to the strikes.
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