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SAG-AFTRA “Reviewing” Studios’ “Last, Best, And Final Offer” After Expanded CEO Meeting Today – Update

UPDATE, 3:14PM AFTER EXCLUSIVE: After meeting with studio CEOs earlier today, SAG-AFTRA has put out a statement, that they’re looking over the latest proposal from the AMPTP which the studios bill as their “last, best, and final offer.”

“We received an offer today from the AMPTP, which they characterized as their “Last, Best, and Final Offer,” said the SAG-AFTRA TV/Theatrical Negotiating Commitee this afternoon.

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“We are reviewing it and considering our response within the context of the critical issues addressed in our proposals,” they added.

The so-called “best and final” language is exactly what the studios said to the WGA in the final days of what were ultimately successful negotiations with the scribes in late September. The phrase and the tactic were widely derided at the time.

PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, 2:12PM: A meeting Saturday between SAG-AFTRA and an expanded group of studio CEOs has just ended as the guild scrutinizes the AMPTP’s long-awaited response to its latest comprehensive counter.

On this 114th day of the actors strike, the top brass from Netflix, Disney, NBCUniversal, Paramount, Amazon, Sony, Warner Bros Discovery and more spoke with SAG-AFTRA leaders by Zoom for about an hour to discuss the new document.

“This is a full package, forward looking and fair,” a studio insider told Deadline of what the execs put on the virtual table.

“CEOs told them this was a historic package for the guild including strong AI protections,” said an exec close to the negotiations. “SAG-AFTRA now needs to get back to us,” another studio vet stated of where things are.

Currently, guild president Fran Drescher, chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland and other members of SAG-AFTRA’s negotiating committee are going over the AMPTP’s response and conferring on next steps, we hear. Whether that will result in further discussions later today or Sunday is unclear at the moment. “We’ve all come a long way, so taking the time to go over the guts of [the proposal] and the fine print is the only responsible way to approach this now,” a well-positioned guild member noted.

The package from the studios is said to include, but is not limited to, the highest wage increase in 40 years, and a 100% increase in performance compensation bonuses for high-budget streaming series and movies. As well, so-called “full” AI protections are in there. The last measure “goes a long way to what SAG wanted,” an industry vet says.

“We didn’t just come toward you, we came all the way to you,” Netflix’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos is said to have told SAG-AFTRA leaders today of the studios’ latest offer.

Still, how close the parties are to nailing down a new three-year contract is hard to assess, sources from both sides say. Yet, perhaps tellingly, again “cautious optimism” has become the phrase of choice on both sides now.

Saturday saw a much larger contingent of of studios CEOs Zooming in to the talks than ever before for SAG-AFTRA negotiations and WGA deliberations. As they have been on and off over these talks and the final days of the successful WGA talks back in September, the Gang of Four– NBCUni’s Donna Langley, Warner Bros Discovery’s David Zaslav, Disney’s Bob Iger and Netflix’s Sarandos — were all there today. Also attending were Paramount Pictures CEO Brian Robbins, Disney’s Dana Walden and co-chairman Alan Bergman, Amazon Studios’ Mike Hopkins and Jen Salke, Sony Pictures chairperson Tony Vinciquerra, and Apple Studios’ Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, we’re told

Bob Iger, Ted Sarandos, David Zaslav & Donna Langley
Bob Iger, Ted Sarandos, David Zaslav & Donna Langley

That showing is indicative of how stressed the studios are to restart global TV and film production. Hollywood has been shut down since the WGA first went on strike in early May and SAG-AFTRA followed in mid-July. The latest economic estimates are that California’s has taken a $6.5 billion hit from the strikes and shutdowns, with more than 45,000 entertainment industry jobs lost.

Looking on the studio side, the first half of the fall TV season has proven pretty much a bust besides unscripted shows and sports. On the big screen, the theatrical release schedule already has several gaps in it for 2024 with tentpoles and more being moved – more moves are likely to to come if the strike goes on much longer. This weekend, the box office totaled around $58 million for all movies, the third-lowest frame YTD. That dismal gross is due to Legendary/Warner Bros.’ Dune: Part Two moving off the schedule to next year due to the actors strike.

Neither SAG-AFTRA nor the AMPTP responded to requests for comment from Deadline today on the state of talks. If and when they do, we will update this post.

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