Hollywood Holds Breath as SAG-AFTRA Considers Studios’ ‘Last and Final’ Offer

Actors guild’s negotiating committee spent Sunday mulling over AMPTP’s proposal after a brief but tense session on Saturday

SAG-AFTRA Strike Talks Studios AMPTP
(Getty Images/Christopher Smith for TheWrap)

Sunday was a tense day in Hollywood as the entertainment industry awaits news from SAG-AFTRA, whose negotiating committee spent the day poring over what the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said would be its “best, last and final offer.”

Insiders on both sides of the talks told TheWrap that SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP only met for about an hour via Zoom on Saturday, but the meeting was notably different in that CEOs from all of the AMPTP member studios were present. In previous talks, only the CEOs of Disney, Netflix, Warner Bros. Discovery and NBCUniversal were present.

SAG-AFTRA told the AMPTP that it would need more time to consider the proposal, and as of Sunday evening, no further meetings between the guild and AMPTP have been scheduled.

The guild told members late Sunday night that it had “analyzed and thoroughly discussed” the AMPTP’s counter proposal all day Sunday (and into Sunday night) and would continue deliberations on Monday.

A studio insider told TheWrap that the AMPTP’s proposal contained “full” protections regarding the use of so-called AI technology, as well as a 100% hike in compensation on high budget streaming productions, for both episodic television and feature films.

This isn’t the first time that terms like “best and final offer” were used by the studios. In September, such a phrase was used by studio insiders during the final weekend of negotiations with the Writers Guild of America, yielding scoffs from WGA members on social media and on the picket lines. A day later, the WGA and AMPTP announced that they had reached an agreement, ending the writers’ strike.

But in late October, insiders told TheWrap that AMPTP leaders, spurred on by the CEOs of some of Hollywood’s biggest studios, were considering returning to hardball tactics and putting talks on pause until January if a deal couldn’t be reached by early November.

While no such ultimatum has been issued publicly, the fact that even SAG-AFTRA has confirmed the studio’s description of the deal as “final,” suggests that may come to pass if the new offer doesn’t meet the guild’s needs.

Studios execs have warned that if the actors strike goes on into the winter, it will scuttle any remaining hope of salvaging the 2023-24 TV season and force more major blockbusters that were in production when the strike began, such as Marvel Studios’ “Deadpool 3” and Paramount’s “Gladiator 2,” to be delayed, causing damage to the box office and to the movie theater industry.

A continued strike would also leave holiday season films like Warner Bros.’ “The Color Purple” and Searchlight’s “Poor Things” without their casts to promote them, which could significantly damage their box office prospects. If the strike continues into the new year, the awards calendar will also face upheaval without actors to appear at ceremonies like the Golden Globes.

But SAG-AFTRA and its members have remained adamant that the guild cannot end the strike without a deal that reflects the changed nature of the entertainment industry, with streaming replacing linear TV as the top medium and artificial intelligence threatening to radically change how shows and movies are produced. SAG-AFTRA has repeatedly instructed members to ignore rumors and media reports of the talks and to only trust communication directly from guild leadership.

As internal talks continued for the negotiating committee on Sunday, multiple guild members called on them via social media to stand their ground and to not accept an unsatisfactory deal simply out of pressure to end the strike, which has lasted for 115 days and counting.

“The idea of a ‘best, last and final offer’ from the studios/streamers is hysterical,” posted “The Office” star Rainn Wilson. “We’ve heard those words so many times. So if the actors don’t take the offer, they’ll just do news and sports and/or go out of business? Or use AI actors?”

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

Comments

One response to “Hollywood Holds Breath as SAG-AFTRA Considers Studios’ ‘Last and Final’ Offer”

  1. boris Avatar

    “Hollywood Holds Breath” ———– Be SURE that the rest of us are NOT holding our breath other than to keep from smelling the garbage being forced upon us.

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