SAG-AFTRA Evaluating Studios’ “Last, Best and Final Offer”

Hollywood studios and major streamers met with SAG-AFTRA leadership on Saturday to present an over-arching package of proposals in an attempt to end the actors’ strike.

The union dispatched a note to its members after the meeting ended, saying the negotiating committee is now reviewing what it says is the companies’ “last, best and final offer.” It also urged members to ignore outside conjecture and rumors. After a staff review on Saturday, the union’s negotiating committee will convene on Sunday to discuss the terms.

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An expanded complement of CEOs from the major studios and the streamers attended Saturday’s bargaining session with SAG leadership, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Behind the scenes, top executives say they could be done negotiating for the time being — or likely until the new year — if SAG-AFTRA doesn’t embrace what one studio-side source in the meeting claimed was a deal “worth more than three of the last deals put together.”

Studios have told SAG leadership in recent days that if there is no sign of a resolution by the first week or second week of November, their 2024 summer movie slates could be thrown into disarray; ditto for the upcoming TV season, which has already been impacted.

“This is a very good deal for them; they’ve gotten almost everything they’ve wanted, and they came back for more,” says the source, adding that the unless a deal is reached this weekend or by early next week, “it means we’re finished.”

In regards to the final offer, the studios and streamers made what they categorized as major concessions, including more favorable AI protection than the WGA deal recently provided (the actors’ needs regarding AI protection are, of course, very different than writers, highest wage increases in 40 years and a brand-new streaming residual based on performance metrics).

The two parties convened Saturday on Zoom after the studios made their latest offer to top negotiators for the union on Friday night. Studio heads including Disney’s Bob Iger, NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos and Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav attended previous negotiations sessions with SAG-AFTRA this year, as well as with the Writers Guild of America before that union made its deal in late September — but Saturday’s group was more numerous.

Top execs from Paramount, Sony, Apple and Amazon were also in attendance, meaning that all of the major legacy Hollywood studios were represented alongside the three tech giants with major film and TV ambitions.

The turnout was a serious sign as the SAG-AFTRA strike hits its 114th day. As of Saturday, sources gave differing answers as to when a deal might be done, with some more optimistic than others that negotiations could wrap up quickly at this juncture. The SAG-AFTRA negotiating committee met Saturday morning to prepare for the day’s bargaining session.

The two parties have been back at the bargaining table and meeting continuously since Oct. 24. Iger, Langley, Sarandos and Zaslav have been present for some of those meetings, but recently AMPTP president Carol Lombardini has been leading the conversations on behalf of the studios.

A little over a week ago, the expanded group of top executives met with SAG-AFTRA chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland and union president Fran Drescher to, among other things, lay out the stakes regarding their TV and film production schedules and how they are reaching a tipping point.

People on that call, in addition to the four regular executives who have been present in previous negotiating sessions, included Sony Pictures chairperson Tony Vinciquerra, Paramount CEO Brian Robbins and Amazon Studios’ Mike Hopkins and Jennifer Salke.

Nov. 4, 2:45 p.m.: Updated with meeting details and SAG statement.

Kim Masters contributed to this report.

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