The writers and actors strikes have brought Hollywood productions to a standstill. While mega-media companies may have initially welcomed the collateral cost-cutting for a few months, it’s time to get back to work.
To that effort, a dozen top executives from the eight main Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers (AMPTP) studios have been congregating on a “regular call,” Bloomberg reported on Sunday. The names on that call are: Ted Sarandos (Netflix), David Zaslav (Warner Bros. Discovery), Dana Walden and Alan Bergman (Disney), Tony Vinciquerra (Sony Pictures), Brian Robbins and George Cheeks (Paramount), Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht (Apple), Jen Salke and Mike Hopkins (Amazon), and Donna Langley (NBCUniversal).
Those are some big names — though perhaps the biggest name, Disney CEO Bob Iger, is notably missing. He’s “gotten more involved in recent weeks” and “has started to participate in many of the calls and meetings,” per the report.
Obviously Disney is well-represented with or without Iger, though he probably was smart to stay out of some of the earliest calls. Iger’s initial comments on the strikes didn’t go over so hot. He called the writers strike and then-looming actors strike “very disturbing.”
“There’s a level of expectation that they have, that is just not realistic,” he said of the creatives at the time. “And they are adding to the set of the challenges that this business is already facing that is, quite frankly, very disruptive.”
It is exactly that sort of messaging that now has the AMPTP seeking help from external PR firms. Worried the strikes could go on for months longer, the studios “feel they have done a poor job of managing what has become a national story,” according to Bloomberg. We’d say so.
When reached by IndieWire, the AMPTP declined to comment on both the reported list of executives and the meetings with public relations companies. Disney reps did not respond to a request for comment on Iger’s growing presence in the group’s talks.
Wisely — and purposely — Iger softened his stance on the matter on last week’s Disney earnings call.
“Nothing is more important to this company than its relationships with the creative community, and that includes actors, writers, animators, directors and producers,” he said. “I have deep respect and appreciation for all those who are vital to the extraordinary creative engine that drives this company and our industry. It is my fervent hope that we quickly find solutions to the issues that have kept us apart these past few months, and I am personally committed to working to achieve this result.”
Much better. Robert A. Iger has joined the meeting.
The writers strike started on May 2; we’re beyond 100 days for that one. The actors strike began on July 14.