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Is the 2023 Actors Strike over?

We're at the end of the longest Actors Strike in Hollywood. Here's everything you need to know, from why it started, to how it ended.

Strike explained: Why are actors striking in 2023

Is the Actors Strike over? Spurred on by their writers’ room counterparts, in July 2023, the biggest actors around Hollywood dropped their scripts and took to the streets to rally for better pay and fairer deals.

Studio executives scrambled as some of the best actors of our generation, the people bringing some of the best movies and best TV series to life joined the 2023 Writers Strike in July, fighting for their industry’s future as the age of streaming and AI takes hold. New movies were thrown into chaos, release dates were scrapped, and the entire industry was put on pause. Here’s everything you need to know.

Is the 2023 Actors Strike over?

On Wednesday, November 8, 2023, SAG-AFTRA announced that the 2023 Actors Strike would officially end at 12:01 am on Thursday, November 9, 2023.

This brings the longest actors’ strike in Hollywood history to a close after 118 days. The negotiating committee has approved the deal from studios unanimously, and the agreement is set to go to the SAG-AFTRA national board on Friday 10 November for final approval.

The deal was settled after several days of negotiating and final touches, with a focus on including the first-ever protections from AI, as well as a historic pay increase (with most minimums increasing by 7%).

“We have arrived at a contract that will enable SAG-AFTRA members from every category to build sustainable careers,” SAG-AFTRA said in an official email. “Many thousands of performers now and into the future will benefit from this work.”

Is the 2023 Actors Strike over? SAG-AFTRA's official post

What does the 2023 Actors Strike deal include?

The SAG-AFTRA deal includes a historic pay increase, as well as protection against the use of artificial intelligence and streaming distribution bonuses. 

According to the union, the new deal is worth over a billion dollars. While the exact terms haven’t been revealed yet, it includes compensation increases, protection against AI, and a “streaming participation bonus”.

Is the 2023 Actors Strike over? SAG-AFTRA's official post

Why did Hollywood actors go on strike?

The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) went on strike for better pay in the age of streaming, and for restrictions on artificial intelligence (AI) in the industry, which they say is an “existential” threat to their profession.

Much like the 2023 Writers Strike, the SAG-AFTRA’s concerns came thanks to the changes in their pay due to streaming services. The explosion of streaming services in recent years has led to growth for multiple studios. However, the success wasn’t being shared among actors or writers — with some SAG-AFTRA members struggling to make ends meet.

Back when Broadcast TV was king, actors and writers both made residuals on re-runs of shows that they worked on. This led to a stream of income to support themselves between projects. However, streaming services don’t normally pay actors more if their shows are binged by millions, and traditionally even pay less than broadcast TV series once high viewership is accounted for.

AI was also a concern as actors were worried about the use of their appearance via ‘deep fakes’, and the increasing amount of dead stars being brought back to the big screen via technology. Using computers to generate faces and voices is a bleak prospect, and the organization wanted restrictions in place to protect themselves.

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What happened to Hollywood with the actors on strike?

This was the first time that both actors and writers went on strike together since 1960. With performers and crew on strike, it completely halted the majority of TV and movie production in Hollywood.

There are 160,000 members in the SAG-AFTRA, and some of the best actors in Hollywood were quick to sign a letter to their union supporting the strike. Some A-lister names supporting the need for updated contracts included Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Matt Damon, and Mark Ruffalo.

With mass support, productions amid shooting and those preparing to start filming had to halt, such as the fantasy series House of the Dragon season 2, and Andor season 2. It also caused a domino effect, as release dates were pushed back, similar to how the 2023 Writers Strike delayed several upcoming Marvel movies such as Blade and Avengers 5.

Now that it’s over, we’re sure to see the industry pick itself back up and quickly resume production and promotion on countless new movies and shows.

While we wait for things to return to the new normal, why not take a trip down memory lane and look at some classics with our lists of the best drama movies of all time and the best comedy movies ever made? And if you want to get dystopian, we deep-dived into a bleak future without writers and had AI write the Game of Thrones sequel Snow, and (spoiler alert) it was terrible.