Hollywood actors and studios reached a tentative deal Wednesday to end a months-long strike that paralyzed the entertainment industry, delayed hundreds of productions and cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars.
The Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) announced that it will end its 118-day strike at midnight (0800 GMT Thursday) after reaching an agreement with studios such as Netflix and Disney over contract demands that included salary increases and protections against the use of artificial intelligence (AI).
"In a contract valued at more than $1 billion," said SAG-AFTRA, whose Film and Television Committee voted unanimously on the proposal this Wednesday.
The announcement paves the way for artists, from stars to extras, to leave the picket lines and return to sets, and to activate thousands of other jobs tied to the entertainment industry.
The union reported that they will submit the tentative agreement to its national leadership this Friday for "review and consideration."
The organization that represents the studios said it was "pleased" with the agreement, which it described as "a new paradigm."
"It provides SAG-AFTRA with the largest contractual benefits in the union's history," AMPTP said in a statement.
Conversations between both sides occurred almost daily over the past two weeks, with the occasional presence of the CEOs of studios such as Disney, Netflix, Warner Bros. and Universal.
The reactions were swift.
"Incredible! I am very happy that we were able to reach an agreement. "Let's get back to work!" Zac Efron told reporters minutes after the announcement, at the premiere of "The Iron Claw."
“PERSEVERANCE PAYS!” Oscar winner Jamie Lee Curtis wrote on Instagram.
– «Fair agreement» –
SAG-AFTRA represents about 160,000 artists. Although Hollywood's elite earn millions, many lesser-known actors say it is impossible to make ends meet as financial compensation does not keep up with inflation and changes in the industry.
Many artists during the strike were forced to look for other jobs to pay their bills, or even leave the profession.
The studios, which had already delayed the release of major productions like "Dune: Part Two" and the new installment of "Mission: Impossible," were worried about the delays it would cause in shows like "Stranger Things," scheduled for next year. .
When SAG-AFTRA went on strike in mid-July, Hollywood screenwriters were also on strike, but they resolved their contract dispute, ending a nearly 150-day strike.
A double strike has not been seen in Hollywood since 1960, when American actor (and then future president) Ronald Reagan led the protest actions.
Analysts estimate that Hollywood is incurring losses of around $6.5 billion with the shutdown, mostly due to lost wages.
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass welcomed the “fair agreement” and said the strikes created “domino effects” in the city.
"Now, we must lean on local production to ensure that our entertainment industry emerges stronger than ever and our economy can get back on its feet," he said in a statement.
– AI and bonuses –
The agreement, SAG-AFTRA detailed, "includes 'above-average' minimum pay increases, unprecedented consent and compensation provisions that will protect members from the threat of AI, and for the first time establishes a streaming participation bonus.
Both parties reached an agreement on the minimum wage, with an increase of around 8% compared to the previous contract.
It's less than the actors wanted, but it's the biggest increase in decades, and more than the writers got.
They reached an agreement to define a bonus structure to compensate the protagonists of series or movies with many views on streaming platforms, as well as protections regarding AI, one of the main points of friction in the final stretch of the negotiations. .
Actors fear the use of AI to clone their voices and images, and wanted stricter rules on compensation and consent that studios would have to obtain.
Also agreed this week was the studio's "ownership" of images of stars after their deaths.