As the Screen Actors Guild figures out how to get out of the corner it's painted itself into, an official of the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers - the negotiating group for the studios and networks - implied that the worsening economy might require portions of its proposal to be pulled back. "It is no secret that we are in a deteriorating economy," said Carol Lombardini, executive VP of the AMPTP. "Our companies are not immune from the effects of this economic slowdown. It is very possible that, as a result of changing economic conditions, we will have to reevaluate the offer we have on the table." This is obviously bluster, but if the SAG folks could take off their blinders for just a second, they would see that their problems... well, they don't amount to a hill of beans in a world that's in financial panic (see below item). In other words, this isn't a great time to be asking for extra, especially when it's more than what other guilds have agreed to. Here are stories from Variety and THR.
Meantime, Nikki Finke got into a snit - understandably so - when the AMPTP released transcripts of Lombardini's remarks to the trades but not to her. A few hours later, the Alliance apologized and forked over the transcripts. She calmly and soberly summed up the situation.
Lombardini is the same ultra-hardliner who issued that disgusting ultimatum to the WGA during the writers strike and is understandably loathed by a wide range of Hollywood guild negotiaters. Now she's threatening SAG.
However, someone needs to remind Lombardini in particular, and the AMPTP generally, that the Hollywood studios are having yet another lucrative summer movie season with nearly every film outperforming financial expectations, while the TV networks all enjoyed rate and overall revenue increases when they wrapped up their upfront dealmaking on advance advertising commitments for the 2008-2009 season.
Well yeah, but box office grosses are only one portion of a media company's pie (and far from the biggest). Also, the outlook for ad revenues between now and the end of the year is pretty stinky. Of course Lombardini is saber rattling, but that still doesn't mean the worsening economy is irrelevant to the studios and networks.