The second strike is over! The SAG-AFTRA strike officially ended at 12:01 AM today, Thursday, November 9, 2023. The SAG-AFTRA TV/theatrical committee voted unanimously to approve the deal on Wednesday, the work stoppage ends today, and tomorrow, the deal goes to the union’s national board for approval.
The exact details of the deal have not been revealed, but I cannot wait to see what guardrails the guild got in place regarding AI, as that was one of the final sticking points over the last week of negotiations. Although, make no mistake, the AI threat to human labor in creative industry—in every industry—is far from over. This tech is still in its infancy, it’s still the wild west, and we truly do not know how this technology will integrate into our lives and professions in the coming years. AI utilization in the film industry will continue to be a hot topic, as it will in every industry.
But, for now, the second of the dual strikes of Hot Labor Summer 2023 is over (special shoutout to Deadline, which reported the deal was “not imminent” and that the strike is “over” less than four hours apart). And just in time for the December press tours! Wonka tour, here we come! Can’t wait to see what an absolute train wreck Aquaman 2 press will be! Brie Larson just escaped having to promote The Marvels, which is definitely screwing over her movie, but at the same time, she did not have to deal with toxic Marvel fans! Everyone wins!
We hope. Again, we don’t know yet what is in this deal. But the SAG-AFTRA leadership kept after negotiations like dogs with a particularly good bone, even the AMPTP effort to sell their weekend offer as “last, best, and final” didn’t work because they kept negotiating through this week, allegedly upping their base wage offer and giving in on the more egregious loopholes in their AI offer—threatening the A-listers with “in perpetuity” use of their likenesses worked out better for SAG, that’s for sure.
I do not think it is entirely coincidental that the A-listers were mounting a pressure campaign to get their union to take the deal on the table, the union was like, “Hey, they want to use your likeness even when you’re dead and not pay you about it,” and then suddenly AMPTP was “updating” their AI language in the deal and now we have a tentative agreement. My conspiracy theory is that SAG wanted their messaging to center on wage issues because that’s where the public sympathy lies strongest, but the minute the A-listers got antsy about awards season, they pulled out that bit about AI usage, and boom, the A-listers are suddenly calling their pals in AMPTP and demanding to know what the f-ck. I continue to be SO interested to know if George Clooney has blown up any of his professional relationships in the last few weeks.
Anyway, I’m sure no one is happier than Bradley Cooper, now that he can go out and promote Maestro unencumbered and without looking like a scab. I look forward to him showing up to the opening of an envelope to make up for missing out on the fall festivals.
Here are Jeremy Allen White, Zac Efron, and director Sean Durkin at the world premiere of The Iron Claw in Dallas, Texas yesterday. The film had an interim agreement which they no longer need as of today.
Live long and gossip,