UA, writers in deal; Golden Globes cancelled

MUMBAI: As the Writers Guild of America continues its strike, it has reached a mutually beneficial independent agreement with United Artists Films, a film company backed by actor Tom Cruise and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. As a result of this agreement, Writers Guild members will be able to work with United Artists while the strike against other companies continues.

“UA and the Writers Guild came together and negotiated seriously. The end result is that we have a deal that will put people back to work,” said Writers Guild of America, West president Patric M. Verrone.

While the details are not being disclosed in this announcement, the agreement is said to address issues important to writers, including New Media. The agreement is unique to United Artists Films and does not involve Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM), which is a shareholder of United Artists Entertainment.

“This agreement is important, unique, and makes good business sense for United Artists. In keeping with the philosophy of its original founders, artists who sought to create a studio in which artists and their creative visions could flourish, we are pleased to have reached an agreement with the WGA,” said UA co-owner and CEO Paula Wagner.

In a related development, this year’s Golden Globes ceremony has been cancelled due to the continuing writers’ strike. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) and NBC said that the ceremony will be replaced by a press conference after actors last week vowed to boycott the event in support of the writers.

“We are all very disappointed that our traditional awards ceremony will not take place this year and that millions of viewers worldwide will be deprived of seeing many of their favorite stars celebrating 2007’s outstanding achievements in motion pictures and television. We take some comfort, however, in knowing that this year’s Golden Globe Award recipients will be announced on the date originally scheduled,” said HFPA president Jorge Camara.

The writers put their pen down on 5 November last year after the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) failed to agree terms for a new contract that expired in October. Negotiations have been going back and forth over the writers’ demands for an increased share of profits from Internet and new media sales.

What remains to be seen is whether the strike will also manage to bring the curtains down on the 80th Academy Awards, which are scheduled to take place in February.