The Hollywood actors' union strike will officially come to a close after midnight in California (7pm AEDT) after a tentative deal was reached to give actors better salaries, a share of streaming revenue and greater protections from the threat of artificial intelligence (AI).
The deal still needs to be ratified by members of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), but is a first step towards reviving a foreign screen production industry that spent $1.22 billion in Australia in 2022-23.
In July, the $79 million series Apples Never Fall starring Annette Benning and Sam Neil with filming in Queensland was put on hold by Universal Studios as a result of the strike, and other Hollywood productions have been delayed. In its recent Drama Report, Screen Australia noted foreign productions had already been impacted and predicated a challenging year in FY24.
In a statement, Screen Queensland is the first Australian state industry body industry body to respond to the news, welcoming the breakthrough.
"We look forward to local production resuming on Apples Never Fall and Mortal Kombat 2 which were supported by our Production Attraction Strategy," Screen Queensland CEO Jacqui Feeney told Business News Australia in a statement.
"Along with Australian feature How to Make Gravy, which currently is filming on the Gold Coast, the resolution of the strike means that more than 900 local crew, creatives and cast members will be active in the industry.
"Screen Queensland has been working throughout the strike on supporting a raft of local and international projects to start production here in 2024 and beyond to build on the record $700 million in production expenditure last financial year. With the $12.6 million Screen Queensland Studios, Cairns development also opening in the new year, the future of Queensland’s screen sector has never been brighter."
When asked for comment, a VicScreen representative highlighted a healthy pipeline of film and television projects slated for production in Victoria, including both local and international projects.
"These projects are expected to provide invaluable work opportunities for Victorian screen practitioners and businesses," the representative said.
"VicScreen is working alongside supported productions to determine the upcoming production schedule.
"We will continue to champion employment opportunities for our local creatives, crew and screen businesses."
After a 118-day strike, SAG-AFTRA achieved a breakthrough tentative deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which emphasised the agreement represented a "new paradigm" including the largest increase in minimum wages in the last 40 years.
The agreement also includes a brand new residual for streaming programs, extensive consent and compensation protections in the use of artificial intelligence, and sizeable contract increases on items across the board.
"The AMPTP is pleased to have reached a tentative agreement and looks forward to the industry resuming the work of telling great stories," the AMPTP wrote in a statement.
The SAG-AFTRA TV/Theatrical Negotiating Committee said they were thrilled about the deal, which means all picket locations will soon officially be closed.
"In a contract valued at over one billion dollars, we have achieved a deal of extraordinary scope that includes "above-pattern" minimum compensation increases, unprecedented provisions for consent and compensation that will protect members from the threat of AI, and for the first time establishes a streaming participation bonus," the committee stated.
"Our Pension & Health caps have been substantially raised, which will bring much needed value to our plans.
"In addition, the deal includes numerous improvements for multiple categories including outsize compensation increases for background performers, and critical contract provisions protecting diverse communities."
The committee said the terms would allow members from every category to "build sustainable careers".
"Many thousands of performers now and into the future will benefit from this work," the committee stated.
"We also thank our union siblings -- the workers that power this industry -- for the sacrifices they have made while supporting our strike and that of the Writers Guild of America. We stand together in solidarity and will be there for you when you need us."
Having also gone on strike, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) ratified its own agreement with the AMPTP last month in a deal that also included minimum payment rates increase, higher health and pension contributions, protections against AI, increased residuals for foreign streaming, other bonuses and beneficial terms.
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