The entertainment industry is preparing for major disruption after Hollywood actors’ union SAG-AFTRA approved strike action last week.
The leaders of SAG-AFTRA, the union representing 160,000 television and film actors, announced the strike after negotiations with studios and streamers over a new contract collapsed.
SAG-AFTRA accused the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) of being “unwilling to offer a fair deal”.
The AMPTP said in a statement that it was “disappointed” by the collapse of negotiations, saying: “This is the union’s choice, not ours.”
The actors join screenwriters, who went on strike in May. Actors and screenwriters have not been on strike at the same time since 1960.
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Many of the actors’ demands mirror those of the writers, who belong to the Writers Guild of America. Both unions say they are trying to ensure living wages for their members. Artificial intelligence (AI) is also a contentious issue for both writers and actors: screenwriters have expressed fears that AI will generate scripts, while actors are concerned about the technology creating digital replicas of their likenesses.
The writers’ strike has already halted production of most US studio and streamer movies and scripted television programmes.
Now, there are concerns that with actors joining the writers on strike, the shutdowns could stretch through the summer and perhaps last until the end of the year.
Productions likely to be affected by the strike include sequels to the Avatar, Deadpool and Gladiator franchises, as well as upcoming seasons of shows such as Stranger Things, Family Guy and The Simpsons.
Red-carpet premieres and promotional interviews have already been halted or scaled back, as actors will not appear in films or promote movies during the stoppage.
Soon after the strike was called, the stars of Oppenheimer skipped their own film premiere in London.