Florence Pugh has had a big summer, what with being in the Oppen-half of Barbenheimer, the biggest event of our cinematic summer. But she was also supposed to be at work this summer, filming Marvel’s Thunderbolts alongside Sebastian Stan, David Harbour, Ayo Edibiri, Steven Yeun, Harrison Ford, Olga Kurylenko, Hannah John-Kamen, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. That movie, however, is currently on pause due to the double strike (its release date has already been pushed back to December 2024). Instead of working for Disney this summer, Miss Flo is picketing outside their Burbank studio lot. This is some kind of karma for Disney, I’m sure.


Flo’s other big movie this year, Dune: Part Two, is still slated for November, but Warner Bros. Discovery isn’t making their decision on moving it until the fall. There’s a chance we might yet see her back on the red carpet this year, but probably not—the resumed negotiations between AMPTP and the WGA don’t seem to be going well. HOWEVER, there is also now a pattern emerging after two weeks of AMPTP and the WGA meeting again. 

The cycle is thus: it is announced that the WGA and AMPTP are meeting again. Then comes word via the industry trades that the talks aren’t progressing as well as the STUDIOS hoped. The pattern is as clear as the intent—to paint the writers (and actors) as the unreasonable ones holding up a deal.


As we have said many times, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and Deadline are all owned by Penske Media, which also owns Dick Clark Productions, a member company of AMPTP. Throughout the strikes, these publications have been slanting stories to the studio side, so this is clearly the AMPTP playbook at work. This latest missive from Variety states that the WGA “did not offer the significant concessions that the studio side was looking for.” WHY SHOULD THEY?

The AMPTP wants this contract to be like the previous deals they’ve made with writers and actors—incremental increases that don’t in any way threaten the financial or power structure of the industry. But the industry has changed RADICALLY in the last decade. Streaming has upended everything, compounding difficulties in the industry into unlivable economics for so many people responsible for creating and making the movies and TV shows we love. Incremental changes aren’t going to cut it, and the “significant concessions” shouldn’t come from the talent side, they should come from the studio side. 


They’re the ones who chased the streaming dream off a cliff before anyone had any proven economic metrics that you can make money with streaming. They’re the ones who need to fix it now and keep show business a viable career path, especially because people are starting to do the math on AI and, um, not only are these programs not nearly as capable as some people are touting—ESPECIALLY in creative industries, where they’re crappy products on top of being beleaguered by copyright lawsuits—but now it’s looking like ChatGPT’s extremely high running costs might push its parent company into bankruptcy NEXT YEAR. Anyone promising AI as a cheap alternative to human labor also has a bridge to sell you.


In the meantime, though, the longer the strike goes on, the more likely it is that we’ll see fresh faces pulled onto the picketing lines. As we have said, the strike captains for both the WGA and SAG-AFTRA have been smart about deploying famous faces to the picket lines. But we’re over three months into the WGA strike, and over one month into the SAG-AFTRA strike, it’s time to stir the pot a little. Thus: Florence Pugh picketing outside Disney when she should have been on set for them. Which is Disney’s fault, by the way.