Scouting Hollywood: Oct. 26-Nov. 1
A roundup of news, gossip and history of the entertainment business brought to you from Hollywood, Calif.
When the Screen Actors Guild demanded a fixed cut of streamers’ revenue, the Producers said no. Nor would the studios and streaming services agree to a 2 percent fixed portion of subscription revenue. They would be willing to profit share on successful projects, similar to what both the Writers and Directors Guilds recently achieved. The producers also said their latest offer included $717 million in increased wages; $177 million to the Actors pension and health plan, and increases in foreign residuals. The Producers also indicated that in the case of Artificial Intelligence created characters, actors would need to provide approval and be compensated for their work and likeness. After two weeks of fruitless bargaining, the Producers walked out. No new talks have been announced.
Alarmed at the damage the continuing strike is creating, a group of A-list actors have approached their union with a couple of suggestions. “We’ve offered to remove the cap on dues, which would bring over $50 million to the union annually,” George Clooney stated, hoping to reignite negotiations. “Well over $150 million over the next three years. We think it’s fair for us to pay more into the union. We also are suggesting a bottom-up residual structure — meaning the top of the call sheet would be the last to collect residuals, not the first. These negotiations will be ongoing, but we wanted to show that we’re all in this together and find ways to help close the gap on actors getting paid.” Since the studios don’t pay the actors’ union dues, this suggestion will certainly be acceptable. And has anyone ever heard of a union turning down more dues? The same probably goes for re-jiggering the timing of residual payments. (Residuals are continuing payments to writers, directors, producers and actors based upon a project’s earnings over its lifetime.) The actors, in addition to Clooney, included Emma Stone, Ben Affleck, Tyler Perry and Scarlett Johansson. As we go to press, the Union President, Fran Drescher (yes, The Nanny) has publicly stated thanks, but no thanks to the proposals.
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