After almost five weeks of negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the actors' union's Television/Theatrical/Streaming contracts have expired without a successor agreement.

Starting on July 13, 2023, at midnight PT, the actors in the guild no longer had a contract with the AMPTP, which represents major studios and streamers like Amazon, Apple, Disney, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount, Sony, and Warner Bros. Discovery.

SAG-AFTRA announced overnight that its negotiating committee had voted unanimously to recommend its 160,000 members strike after weeks of negotiations with companies such as Netflix, Amazon, Disney, and Warner Bros. disintegrated.

Unlike the WGA, who announced that their strike was on immediately after their contract expired, SAG-AFTRA will meet Thursday morning on whether to strike.

SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher said in a statement, “SAG-AFTRA negotiated in good faith and was eager to reach a deal that sufficiently addressed performer needs, but the AMPTP’s responses to the union’s most important proposals have been insulting and disrespectful of our massive contributions to this industry. The companies have refused to meaningfully engage on some topics and on others completely stonewalled us. Until they do negotiate in good faith, we cannot begin to reach a deal. We have no choice but to move forward in unity, and on behalf of our membership, with a strike recommendation to our National Board. The board will discuss the issue this morning and will make its decision.”

SAG-AFTRA will hold a news conference at noon Los Angeles time, after its national board votes on whether to make the strike official, joining an ongoing walkout by Hollywood writers for the first time in 63 years.

“The studios and streamers have implemented massive unilateral changes in our industry’s business model, while at the same time insisting on keeping our contracts frozen in amber,” SAG-AFTRA’s national executive director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said in a statement. “Their refusal to meaningfully engage with our key proposals and the fundamental disrespect shown to our members is what has brought us to this point. The studios and streamers have underestimated our members’ resolve, as they are about to fully discover.”

Is it surprising that actors' are headed to the picket lines? Not really.

The actors' union's demands were very similar to the WGA's: restrictions on artificial intelligence technology, which can currently simulate a performer's likeness or writing style and a new business model which rewards residuals based on viewership, data which streamers have always been hesitant to share.

Hollywood is changing. I know I know... we have been saying this a lot, but it's true. Executives at every company are trying to find a way to keep making more and more money rather than disperse the wealth amongst their talent, creatives, and crews. However, this decision is coming back to haunt them as all productions come to a halt (unless you are an indie production, which you can find the SAG-AFTRA amendment for indie productions here).

With many A-list actors, including Meryl StreepJennifer Lawrence, Quinta BrunsonJulia Louis-DreyfusBen Stiller, Neil Patrick Harris, and Amy Poehler, signing a direct letter to SAG-AFTRA stating that they want and should go on strike, the actors' strike feels rightfully inevitable.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.