After 146 days, the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) has come to a tentative deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) to end the ongoing writer’s strike that has shut down hundreds of productions since it started on May 2, 2023.
Negotiators from both the WGA East and WGA West had met with several studio CEOs over the course of Friday, September 22 to Sunday, September 24 to untangle the stalemate in negotiations. Alleged sticking points for the WGA included minimum staffing requirements for film and television productions and the role of artificial intelligence and generative language models in the screenwriting process.
The official terms of the new contract have yet to be unveiled, so it remains to be seen if all the terms that the WGA have been striking for have been met. However, it seems as though the negotiation team for the WGA is confident that the needs of writers have been met.
Over the next few days, the body of the WGA will vote on whether or not they will ratify this new contract. The last time the WGA went on strike, in 2008, the new contract took four days to ratify, so if this new contract meets their terms we will likely see it ratified by Thursday or Friday.
The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Actors (SAG-AFTRA) strike is still ongoing as of September 24, however, a deal for the WGA is a massive leap forward towards bringing the strikes to an end and getting Hollywood back on its feet.
Daytime talk shows and late-night comedy shows will likely be the first to start back up with the end of the writer’s strike, as SAG-AFTRA does not consider them to be struck productions, provided that actors are not promoting struck productions on them. There are a number of films and shows that have received interim agreements for filming and promotions, so shows like “The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon” and films like “Dicks: The Musical” will likely have their stars on the air soon enough.
SAG-AFTRA will likely return to the bargaining table in the coming weeks, as they have been on strike going on 70 days now, and the lack of actors promoting projects has likely been a cause of some lackluster box-office runs this summer. The Hollywood Reporter estimated that starless promotional campaigns caused a hit of roughly 10-15% on box office for films like “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem,” which premiered in the midst of the dual strike without its stacked voice cast, led by heavyweights like Jackie Chan, Ice Cube and Seth Rogen doing interviews or appearing on the red carpet.
If the next set of SAG-AFTRA negotiations do not go as smoothly as the recent set of WGA negotiations, there will likely be further delays of 2023 and 2024 films. Summer blockbusters that are set for release in 2024, like “Captain America: Brave New World” or “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning: Part Two” that require extensive visual effects and post-production work, will likely be pushed further into the fall of 2024 or even early 2025.
All in all, this tentative deal will hopefully mark a bright future for the many laborers in Hollywood that keep the industry, and by extension, the art form, alive and well.