Hollywood's summer of strikes is giving way to a fall and winter of super-sized activity. After 118 days on strike, the Screen Actors Guild has reached a tentative and hard-fought agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Picket line activity ceased as of 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 9, paving the way for film and television production to resume for the first time since July, when SAG-AFTRA joined the Writers Guild of America for a historic double strike that ground the industry's gears to a prolonged halt.
The tentative agreement was unanimously approved by SAG-AFTRA's negotiating committee and goes to the guild's national board on Friday. Full details of the new contract will be made available in the coming days, but it is expected that SAG-AFTRA secured gains and protections on issues ranging from minimum rate increases to the use of AI in manipulating actors's digital likenesses, which proved to be a key sticking point in the negotiations.
"New inroads were carved everywhere," SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher told Extra. "And that's what this moment was really about. It was essential that artificial intelligence be barricaded, with a lot of protections for the members. And, you know, it was very important that we found a new stream of revenue to try and level the playing field when it comes to compensation for the members that work the streaming channels.”
Here's what you can expect as Hollywood gets back to business.
Where will I see my favorite stars again?
Looks like Timothée Chalamet will be able to rap about Wonka and Dune: Chapter 2 with the Studio 8H crowd this weekend after all. The in-demand actor is making his first post-strike appearance on Saturday Night Live, and is newly enabled to promote both of his upcoming blockbusters. And that's just the tip of the iceberg: Expect to see A-list celebrities like Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone and Sydney Sweeney once again appearing on red carpets, late-night TV shows and press junkets as the strike's non-promotion rules are lifted and their movies start to arrive in theaters.
While the agreement came a little too late for Brie Larson to address the difficulties plaguing The Marvels ahead of that film's opening, you can bet that Jason Momoa will be out there early and often to put a happier face on the equally problem-plagued Aquaman sequel, set to swim into multiplexes in December.
Will Deadpool 3 and Gladiator 2 still make their 2024 release dates?
Speaking of Marvel, the studio is counting on Ryan Reynolds's Merc with a Mouth to bring audiences back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe... especially with Hugh Jackman's Wolverine riding shotgun. The Shawn Levy-directed Deadpool 3 was midway through production when SAG-AFTRA went on strike. On Thursday, Disney announced a massive shift of Marvel releases, pushing Deadpool 3 from May 3 to July 26. (Captain America: New World Order will in turn move from July date to Feb. 14, 2025; Thunderbolts is moving from December 2024 to July 25, 2025, and the Blade reboot with Mahershala Ali is relocating from Feb. 14, 2025 to Nov. 7, 2025.)
The studios have already advised actors, directors and writers that feature film production likely won't restart in earnest until January, after the always-busy holiday corridor. Another Marvel three-timer, Tom Hardy's Venom 3, has already pushed back its release date from July to November based on the delayed start. On the other hand, Ridley Scott's Gladiator 2, featuring rising star Paul Mescal, is already scheduled for a Nov. 24, 2024 launch and should still be able to meet that date since the director has said he already has a 90-minute edit of previously shot pre-strike footage.
What about television?
After the curtain came down on the WGA strike in September, the writers' rooms of major network TV shows like Dick Wolf's Law & Order franchise and ABC's comedy hit Abbott Elementary quickly reopened in the hopes of salvaging at least part of the fall season. With some of those scripts already completed, networks reportedly hope to begin production after the Thanksgiving holidays, allowing them to meet the season standard of 13 episodes.
But cable and streaming shows like Netflix's blockbuster Stranger Things and Paramount Network's Yellowstone will likely take a little longer to ramp up due to actors's schedules, as well as complicated post-production work. Schedules have already been adjusted accordingly: the final run of Yellowstone episodes is expected to premiere in November 2024, while the fifth and final season of Stranger Things isn't expected until 2025.
Will there be a real awards season?
The race to the Oscars generally starts on fall film festival red carpets, but most of the major festivals — from Toronto to New York — were star-free. Expect those actors to start making up for lost time as awards season starts in earnest with the 33rd Annual Gotham Awards on Nov. 27, followed by the delayed Emmy Awards, now scheduled for Jan. 15, as well as the SAG Awards and the beleaguered Golden Globes. Barbie power couple Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling will certainly be everywhere as they pursue respective Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor nominations, and Oppenheimer's Robert Downey Jr., Killers of the Flower Moon's Lily Gladstone and Rustin's Colman Domingo are also expected to be in-demand ahead of Jan. 23 when Oscar nominations are unveiled.
Will there be more labor disruptions?
The victories achieved by the WGA and SAG-AFTRA didn't come without a cost. The dual strikes are estimated to have incurred $6 billion in losses, with below the line crew and the small businesses that supply productions feeling the brunt of that economic pain. The first test of Hollywood's willingness to avert another strike will arrive next summer when IATSE — the guild that represents numerous below the line artisans — faces its own contract negotiations with the AMPTP. An IATSE strike was narrowly avoided in 2021, and there are already concerns within the guild that the appetite won't be there to support another prolonged work stoppage.