Hollywood’s Longest Strike: Screenwriters and Actors Take a Stand
The Epic Standoff
The Hollywood screenwriters’ strike, which started in May, could become the longest strike in the history of the Writers Guild and surpass the longest Hollywood strike since 1945 if it continues beyond September 30th. The SAG-AFTRA actors association also joined the strike on July 14th, escalating the dispute with even more demands. Major players from various prominent production studios have been involved in ongoing negotiations. Although analysts suggest that a potential agreement could be close, they also warn that if a deal is not signed soon, the strike will likely continue till the end of the year.
The Artificial Intelligence Paradox
A key point of contention in the strike remains the screenwriters’ demand to limit the use of artificial intelligence. The writers fear that AI could partially replace them in content creation, leading to a further decrease in their income. This standoff has reportedly already cost more than what the striking writers demanded for their contracts. The Milken Institute estimates that the current strike has cost Hollywood a staggering five billion dollars.
Public Opinion and Potential Boycotts
A survey among Americans showed substantial public support for the Writers Guild strike. While 55% of American adults sympathize with the striking writers and actors, only 3% had more sympathy for the big studios. However, this support weakens when it comes to acting on these opinions, with only one-third considering a boycott of TV series, and only 27% considering canceling their subscriptions to online platforms.
The Writers Guild hasn’t called for a boycott, but they are prepared to do so if the strike lasts long enough. A majority of Americans believe that screenwriters should be better paid, but fewer agree for the actors. There is a possibility that under a new agreement, screenwriters could start receiving payment from streaming platforms based on the number of active users, ensuring that “programs with more viewership are better compensated.”
The Economic Impact of the Strike
The current 146-day strike has surpassed the 100-day 2007-2008 strike, which cost California’s economy 2.1 billion dollars. Thousands of American film and TV screenwriters began the strike in early May, demanding better pay, larger rewards for creating successful shows, and protection against artificial intelligence. When actors joined the strike in mid-July, it led to a significant slowdown in the American film and TV world.
Are the Actors Next?
If the American screenwriters reach an agreement, the actors’ strike will continue. So far, there are no known talks between Hollywood studios and the American actors’ union. However, both unions share many similar demands, leading experts to believe that an agreement by the Writers Guild could pave the way for ending the actors’ strike.
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