The collective WGA and SAG-AFTRA strike has thrown a wrench into Hollywood's summer plans. The box office, still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, is a bit stagnant. Now that the actors have stepped off productions and joined the strike lines, studios cannot rely on actors to promote their films, too.
That means no late-night spots, no red carpets, and an industry facing a double strike the likes of which they have not seen in 60+ years.
The WGA has been at this since May 1, and now, with SAG-AFTRA joining, they hope to put pressure on the AMPTP to make a fair deal.
But what will it really take for this all to end?
Many believe that the studios need to feel some serious heat on their stocks, get Wall Street upset, and then maybe they'll come back to the table, where the actors and writers have been waiting.
So where are the movie studio stocks now?
Are Movie Studio’s Stocks Suffering During the Strikes?
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that "Since the writers’ strike began in May, Disney’s stock has fallen 13 percent to $88.62 a share. Paramount has dropped more than 30 percent to $15.96 a share, and Warner Bros. Discovery has declined nearly 7 percent to $12.40. Shares of WBD, which owns HBO and CNN, closed at $12.40 on Friday, down nearly 50 percent since April 2022 when the smaller Discovery absorbed WarnerMedia—a deal that saddled the company with more than $45 billion in debt."
That seems to favor the WGA and SAG-AFTRA, who see studios taking these hits as signs they cannot prevail and hold out.
But the AMPTP is not just made up of traditional studios, they also represent streamers, and the biggest streamer of all is not having much of an issue with its stock price.
The LA Times went on to say, "Netflix shares have soared 36 percent to $441.91 since the writers’ strike began. Netflix now boasts a higher market value—nearly $200 billion—than Disney, the world’s largest entertainment company, which is valued at $162 billion."
This shows the nature of how unstable and unprecedented these times have become.
With streamers taking control of Hollywood and with Netflix's stock getting higher, there could be some tension within the AMPTP. Maybe even a possible breakup as traditional studios are choked by the current state of affairs.
But I wouldn't hold my breath with any of that.
Every single one of those traditional studios has a streaming channel they're trying to launch. They're already incredibly expensive, so they may not want to lose more money with a fair deal made with talent.
Broadcast networks will suffer in the fall, and when there are no new movies to release in the spring or actors to publicize fall releases, there will be blowback as well.
This has never happened, so everyone is learning in real time what their limits are and what their companies can do to survive.
If I were a filmmaker trying to get a project off the ground right now, I would focus on independent financing outside of all of these studios. SAG-AFTRA is willing to work with wholly independent productions, and this could be a time when a lot of bigger names are available and want to stick it to the studios, so now is the perfect time to do a small passion project.
As always, we'll keep you updated as things develop.