After almost a month, negotiations between the Hollywood screenwriters union WGA and the association of producers and studios AMPTP are ready to resume.
The news was reported by the AMPTP, which issued a statement on Thursday announcing that the union had contacted it asking it to resume negotiations: “We have agreed and are scheduling a meeting for next week. Every company in the AMPTP wants to participate and hopes to reach a fair agreement by working with the WGA to end the strike.” Shortly thereafter, confirmation came from the union, which in a message addressed to its members explained that “the WGA and AMPTP are setting up a meeting to return to the negotiating table.”
The WGA, as we remember, has been on strike since May 2. On August 11, a rather tense phase of negotiations began, during which both sides exchanged offers and counter-offers, but it was not successful, and from August 22 all dialogue was interrupted. With this came hope that the strike could be ended by Labor Day, a sort of “psychological threshold” that many were striving for. Weeks pass and… It’s now safe to say that 2023 is essentially archived as far as production is concerned.: If AMPTP had reached an agreement with the writers at the end of the month, there would still be a SAG-AFTRA actors’ union strike that has been going on since mid-July and will not be resolved so easily. This means that in any case, even if we assume a month of negotiations with actors, signing and ratification of contracts and applying them to new productions, we will arrive at the end of November: it is unlikely that films and TV series will return to production. during the Christmas period.
The studios have already begun to foresee to their shareholders that the last quarter will be very difficult on the financial front (although missed productions have positive short-term consequences, i.e. more liquidity), but the real problem at this stage will come in 2024, when the films and TV series that were due to be filmed in the second half of 2023. And the longer contract signings are delayed, the more dire the consequences will be for next year’s film and television calendar, at a time in history when major companies are facing a host of economic and financial difficulties.
Therefore, it is no coincidence that in recent days, increasingly persistent rumors about one of them have been spreading. split under the AMPTP between studios (including Disney, Paramount, Sony, Warner Bros. Discovery) and streamers (Apple, Amazon and Netflix) with legacy studios who would like to find a fair agreement with the writers. However, on September 8, the association denied these rumors, explaining that its members are “united and willing to negotiate together to find a solution.” Any suggestion to the contrary is false.”
Even among the strikers, the mood is not rosy: thousands of people, including related industries, have been unemployed for several months, and there are those who are leaving Los Angeles even forever, deciding to give up their careers. But good news came yesterday: the California Senate voted in favorextension of unemployment benefits for striking workers, a measure already in place in states like New York but absent in the state where Hollywood is located. The only problem is that if Governor Newsom signs the law, it will go into effect… January 1, 2024.
Tensions are running high, and there is hope that this new stage of negotiations will be successful.