Apple Suspends Overall Deals as Writers’ and Actors’ Strikes Continue

Suspended deals include those with Natalie Portman and Adam McKay

Natalie Portman sits in a chair looking to her left, where a sign in the background reads "Meet the filmmaker" beneath an Apple logo, shaped like an Apple fruit with a bite out of it. She has light brunette hair and wears a black top. There are two water bottles on a nearby table. She holds a microphone in her lap.
Natalie Portman (Getty Images)

Apple has suspended additional overall and first-look deals with creators as the Writers Guild and Screen Actors Guild strikes continue, an individual with knowledge told TheWrap. Those affected are non-writing producers who no longer have projects moving forward or in later stages of production.

The suspended deals include those with Adam McKay’s Hyperobject Industries and Natalie Portman’s MountainA. However, other deals for projects where producers can continue to engage in non-writing, non-acting work are continuing.

That includes Martin Scorsese’s deal as he finishes “Killers of the Flower Moon,” set for release next month and already screening for critics. Another deal still in place is that with Tom Hanks’ Playtone, producers of the upcoming “Masters of the Air” limited series for Apple TV+.

Apple did not immediately return a request for comment.

An overall deal is an agreement between a studio and a production company or creative talent. The studio offers its financial support for ideas and projects that come from the company/creative while the deal continues.

Apple joins other studios including CBS, Disney, NBCUniversal, Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery who’ve suspended deals amid the continuing strikes. They’re able to suspend deals through “force majeure” clauses, which most studio contracts allow to be invoked in the event of a union strike. Major talent whose deals have been suspended include names like J.J. Abrams, Greg Berlanti, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Mindy Kaling, Lorne Michaels, Billy Porter, Gina Rodriguez and a number of others.

This ramps up pressure on creatives who also produce. They can no longer rely on studio coffers to pay the staffs at their production companies, though several studios plan to keep paying assistants through the end of the year. Writer-director Justin Simien started a GoFundMe earlier in the strike when his own deal was suspended, raising money to pay employees at his production company, Culture Machine. The effort raised more than $65,000. Simien talked about the situation with TheWrap at the time.

While these deals have suspended, they may still be reinstated at a later date with the time of the suspension tacked onto the contract — or deals could be canceled.

“Definitely the rumor on the street before the strike was that this is an opportunity for these companies to purge themselves of really expensive deals,” Simien told TheWrap earlier this summer.

The news of Apple suspending deals was first reported by The Ankler. The news of deals with Portman and McKay being suspended was first reported by Deadline.

Umberto Gonzalez contributed to this report.

For all of TheWrap’s WGA strike coverage, click here.