The union representing thousands of film and television actors has agreed in principle to a deal with the motion picture studios, signaling the coming end of a four-month strike that brought the industry to a standstill.
According to an email sent to members Wednesday evening, the SAG-AFTRA negotiating committee approved a tentative deal with the major film studios.
The three-year contract agreement must be approved by votes from the union’s board and its members in the coming days, but the leadership declared the strike will end at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, bringing an end to the high-profile work stoppage.
The total value of the contract totals more than $1 billion, the negotiating committee says, with increased pay for members, increased residual payments related to streaming content and better health and pension benefits.
The studios and the unions also appear to have come to an agreement regarding the use of artificial intelligence in the creation of media, a major sticking point throughout the duration of negotiations.
“We have achieved a deal of extraordinary scope that includes ‘above-pattern’ minimum compensation increases, unprecedented provisions for consent and compensation that will protect members from the threat of AI, and for the first time establishes a streaming participation bonus,” the message to SAG-AFTRA members reads.
The agreement comes during a critical moment in the industry, with several projects up in the air and the future of some television and film productions hanging in the balance.
The negotiations have been ongoing for months but intensified in recent days. Just last week, the studios presented what they were calling their “best and final” offer. Some actors voiced their displeasure with the terms of this offer and the union took several days to offer a response.
Disney CEO Bob Iger, Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos, NBC Studios head Donna Langley and Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav were among those negotiating on behalf of the film studios, while SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher and the union’s chief negotiator fought for the hundreds of actors the union represents.
Earlier this year, the Writers Guild of America launched its own strike, which came to an end last month. Officials for both unions thanked those in the film and television trade who have been forced to put their livelihoods on hold while they worked to revamp and reimagine the future of the industry.
“We stand together in solidarity and will be there for you when you need us,” union leaders wrote.