Operators Hurt by WGA Strike, SAG Could Be Next

Posted on December 17, 2008 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

LOS ANGELES — Hollywood recovered strongly from a devastating screenwriters walkout in 2008 but finished the year nervously bracing for a blockbuster sequel that few want: The Actors Strike Back.

The paralyzing 100-day work stoppage by writers ended in February with a historic deal that gave writers a slice of profits from new media and Internet sales, an area where they had once received nothing.

The deal negotiated by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) was described as a "groundbreaking" achievement by movie industry experts.

"Establishing the principle that the WGA has jurisdiction over Internet and new media is a groundbreaking step forward," said Jason Squire, a lecturer at University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts.

Yet the result, hailed as a victory by the writers union leaders, came at a price, with some economists putting the cost of the dispute at around two billion dollars in losses.

Among the hardest hit were owners of Los Angeles-based limousine companies: with actors boycotting awards shows such as the Golden Globes in support of writers, chauffeurs were left idling in their busiest months of the year.

But with the US economy sliding into a recession of epochal severity, the film and television industry is now anxiously contemplating the possibility of another walkout, this time by Hollywood's biggest actors union.

A tense standoff has been in place between the 120,000-strong Screen Actors Guild and the AMPTP after negotiations to replace a contract which expired in June foundered with no agreement.

Ominously, SAG's leaders have adopted a hawkish stance over the possibility of calling a strike. In December the union announced plans to conduct a strike authorization ballot on January 2. Union leaders insist they want to avoid a work stoppage and are only seeking authorization to call a strike to increase their bargaining power.

However the prospect of calling a walkout as the rest of America reels under a perfect storm of rising unemployment, soaring bankruptcies, home foreclosures and a collapsing stock market, has caused divisions within the union.

"You can't ignore what's happening in the economy," David Duchovny, the star of the "X-Files" and comedy "Californication", told the Los Angeles Times.

"Everyone wants to keep on working. Even with what little work there is, to have none would be disastrous," added Duchovny, one of dozens of high-profile actors who had manned picket lines in support of writers earlier in the year.

The behind-the-scenes industrial disputes did not have a noticeable effect on the box-office figures, however, where a slew of comic-book adaptations and the return of Indiana Jones ensured some solid numbers.

The star performer was Batman sequel "The Dark Knight", which recorded a record opening weekend of 158.4 million dollars before going on to become the second highest grossing movie of all time with 530 million in North America.

Preceding "The Dark Knight" had been one of the year's surprise hits, "Iron Man", a superhero vehicle featuring Robert Downey Jr, which finished with 318 million dollars.

"Iron Man" ended up squeezing ahead of cinema's favorite swashbuckling archeologist in "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal", taking 317 million dollars.

By early December, overall North American box office figures were up on year-on-year by some 1.4 percent at 8.96 billion dollars, but it was unclear if the year would manage to surpass 2007's total haul of 9.66 billion dollars.

Source: AFP

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Party Bus Pot Tours Try To Reckon With Smoking Ban

If you can drink wine on a wine tour bus...Las Vegas operators want to allow onboard cannabis consumption.

Uber Takes Biggest Bite Out Of Taxi, Rental Car Industries

Money spent on rental cars and taxis each fell by 2% to 29% and 8%, respectively.

Sick Day? Vacation Day? With PTO, It Doesn't Matter

Robert Gaskill of Motev in Los Angeles explains how his company deals with employees who need time off.

Uber Tries To Stop Driver Exodus By Treating Them Better

The TNC admits the way it handles drivers is an "existential threat" to its $70 billion business.

Charter Bus Booked Solid For Total Eclipse

The city of Washington, Missouri is making a three-day event of the solar phenomenon, with events starting Aug. 19.


See More News

Facebook Comments ()

Comments (0)

Post a Comment



See More

LCT Store

LCT Magazine - July 2017 $12.95 COVER STORY: * Why These Titans Work So Hard to Give it Away * *


Experience the three annual industry events for networking for business, showcasing vehicles and products, and getting the tools for success.

Read About Your Region

What’s Happening Near You?
Click on any state to see the latest industry news and events in that region.

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment



Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Metro Magazine

Serving the bus and passenger rail industries for more than a century

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

Please sign in or register to .    Close