Ongoing Hollywood strikes: When will the WGA and SAG-AFTRA standoff end?

Hollywood in turmoil: The ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA standoff leaves the industry in limbo (Image via Sportskeeda)
Hollywood in turmoil: The ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA standoff leaves the industry in limbo (Image via Sportskeeda)

A fresh report suggests the ongoing Hollywood strikes by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) may go on for longer than anticipated, casting a shadow of uncertainty for movie and television enthusiasts. Both organizations are grappling for better pay, improved work conditions, and job security amidst the rising interest in artificial intelligence.

The WGA first launched their strike on May 2, while SAG-AFTRA followed suit and initiated their strike on July 14.

As a result, numerous productions were compelled to come to a standstill. While it remains speculative to pinpoint an end to these strikes, insiders are already theorizing possible timelines for the resumption of negotiations.


A gloomy forecast: Hollywood strikes may continue into 2024 and beyond

A storm on the horizon: Hollywood strikes threaten to extend into 2024 and beyond (Image via Getty)
A storm on the horizon: Hollywood strikes threaten to extend into 2024 and beyond (Image via Getty)

In his latest newsletter for Puck, Matt Belloni expressed concern that the ongoing strikes could last well into the first quarter of 2024. The prevalent apprehension is that negotiations between the guilds and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) may not recommence until the period around the Oscars next year.

This could mean a resolution might not be achieved until late February. Looking back at the 2007-2008 WGA strike that ultimately ended due to the Oscars could serve as a useful point of reference.

Belloni also mentioned that a quicker agreement might be possible should all parties resume negotiations earlier, although this seems unlikely given the current state of affairs.

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The 2024 Oscars are slated for March 10. If the Hollywood strikes were to end just before this event, it would denote the longest strike in the history of WGA and SAG-AFTRA by a substantial margin.

To illustrate, the 2007-2008 WGA strike ended on February 12, so if this year's strikes ends on the same date in 2024, it indicates a period of 286 days, with SAG-AFTRA striking for 213 days.

To put this into context, this is the first time previous Hollywood strikes have come anywhere close to these durations. The longest strike to date was the WGA strike in 1988, which lasted 153 days.

If the current WGA strike extends well into 2024, it will shatter this record, almost doubling the previous longest duration. The SAG-AFTRA strikes, on the other hand, have historically been shorter and less frequent. Their longest strike lasted only 94 days in 1980.


Major studios at a standstill: Disney, Warner Bros., and Universal hit by strikes

Entertainment giants at a halt: Disney, Warner Bros., and Universal grapple with strikes (Image via Getty)
Entertainment giants at a halt: Disney, Warner Bros., and Universal grapple with strikes (Image via Getty)

While Hollywood strikes in the past have significantly impacted the entertainment industry, the scenario in 2023 differs notably from previous instances. The industry had just emerged from a stagnation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic when no productions were undertaken.

The repercussions of the pandemic were far-reaching, affecting the entire entertainment sector and the broader economy. Given the membership of around 160,000 in SAG-AFTRA and 20,000 in WGA, the current strikes have resulted in joblessness for nearly 180,000 individuals, triggering a significant economic shift.

The cessation of productions also implies that significant studios like Disney, Warner Bros., and Universal Studios are not investing the usual sums into TV series and films. This lack of spending has a considerable impact on the wider economy.

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Moreover, the ongoing strikes have implications for movie theaters, which rely heavily on new releases for revenue. Almost all significant film productions, such as Deadpool 3, Gladiator 2, Venom 3, and TV shows like FX's American Horror Story, Euphoria's third season, and The Sandman's second season, are on pause.

In essence, the Hollywood strikes have already significantly impacted the entertainment industry. If they continue as projected, fans might witness a substantial shift in the near future of movies and television.

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Edited by Upasya Bhowal