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SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP extend contract negotiations through July 12

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Source: Jim Ruymen / UPI / Shutterstock

Union rally held in Los Angeles as part of the 2023 Writers’ Strike

In a temporary reprieve SAG-AFTRA and Alliance Of Motion Picture And Television Producers (AMPTP) negotiators have extended contract renewal talks and pushed the expiry date of the Guild’s minimum basic agreement to 11.59pm PT on July 12.

The parties announced the extension on Friday evening (June 30) with several hours to go before the TV and theatrical contract signed in 2020 was due to expire.

They will continue to negotiate under a media blackout, with the areas of streamer residuals, artificial intelligence, and employee benefits understood to be particularly thorny.

The extension comes as the industry faces the prospect of a double strike after the Writers Guild Of America (WGA) are in the ninth week of industrial action which commenced on May 2.

Hollywood has reason to be fearful. The writers strike has already closed down most scripted television production and a number of features in North America and further afield which were ready to shoot or in production such as Marvel Studios’ Blade, The Island in Spain with Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara, and Amazon Studios series Blade Runner 2099 in Belfast, among others.

Were SAG-AFTRA to call a strike in the event that extended talks yield no agreement – it already has the overwhelming support of members to call a strike – it would essentially close down Hollywood, shuttering Hollywood productions and affecting production around the world involving any of SAG-AFTRA’s 160,000 members.

A double strike would most likely disrupt the release schedule towards the end of this year and into 2024. Last week Disney announced a major calendar shuffle as it anticipated production delays, with Avatar 3 pushed back a year from its December 2024 slot and the fifth and final instalment now set for release in December 2031.

In the last few days more than 300 leading Hollywood actors, among them Jennifer Lawrence and Meryl Streep, signed a letter urging Guild leadership to push for the best deal or go on strike.

As previously reported it is understood that interim agreements from SAG-AFTRA would allow truly independent productions to go ahead, even in the event of a SAG-AFTRA strike.

The Directors Guild OF America signed a new three-year contract with AMPTP last weekend.

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