The notes have just started trickling in, but early indications are that the writers strike did not cause the kind of economic hardship that was being hyped by a few economists and industry folks during the walkout. Of course it was a mixed bag - working stiffs living from paycheck-to-paycheck struggled a lot more than the A-listers - and it's too soon to assemble the final casualty count. But producer Todd Traina doubts that places like Dan Tanas, Musso & Franks and the Chateau Marmont had been dealt as big a blow as conventional wisdom would suggest. “For those that couldn’t afford to go there anymore, now there are just as many who now have the time to go,” he told the NY Observer.
Rebecca Marder co-owns the Hollywood eatery Capo on Ocean Avenue, which counts Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks among its regulars, and the Broadway Deli on Third Street Promenade, a big power-breakfast and lunch spot for the likes of Sean Penn and Brad Grey. “What I saw was this doom and gloom indelibly etched in the psyche of these writers,” Ms. Marder said with faint hostility on the phone. “Almost playing out the victim, like they somehow got thrills telling the story.” She said that business had been down only about 10 or 15 percent.
As we've been reporting for some months, the economic impact is likely to be offset, at least to some degree, by extra work coming in before and after the strike. Director George Hickenlooper said, "I've never been busier in my life." By the way, WGA contract ratification ballots get counted next week.