Hollywood writers reach tentative deal with studios at last minute

Updated 2017-05-03 16:30:26 Xinhua

After a marathon negotiation, the Writers Guild of America on Tuesday reached a tentative deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers which represents Hollywood studios and networks, avoiding a possible strike among screen writers.

"I am delighted that they reached an agreement because a big strike has so many economic repercussions that ripple through the motion picture economy for years afterward," Julia Pierrepont III, a director and producer in Hollywood, told Xinhua Tuesday afternoon.

The previous contract between the WGA and the studios was set to expire by Monday midnight, so a new contract was urgently needed.

The negotiations mainly focused on WGA members' healthcare plans and wages. The writers argued that they were entitled to share some of the revenues earned by big film companies, like Disney and Fox.

The shrinking TV seasons cut into writer earnings as well, so the new contract would provide additional wages for those affected by shorter TV seasons, LA Times reported Tuesday. A minimum wage and new healthcare plans were added to the contract, it added.

Hollywood writers held a big strike in 2007 which lasted for 100 days, hitting Hollywood's film reproduction and California's economy hard. A Milken Institute estimate found the strike cost the state 2.1 billion U.S. dollars.

According to CBS Los Angeles, affected by the strike that year, many films met with poor reviews and many filmmakers and movie stars complained that they could not find a good screenplay.

One the other side, even though 96 percent of the WGA's nearly 13,000 members "voted in favour of a strike authorization" on Apr. 24, most of them would not like to see that happen.

Three writers told NBC that "they preferred to remain on the job," because they didn't want to lose their jobs, though they could understand the WGA's goal of the strike.

"We want to keep the Hollywood motion picture industry healthy, growing and strong, and continue to provide jobs for tens of thousands of people and generate almost 15 billion U.S. dollars of revenue, all of which will begin with a good writer" said Pierrepont III.

The LA Times also said a strike would have impacted 240,000 people within the industry. Both sides made concessions in time, many at the last minute.

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