Weinstein Company inks deal with WGA

MUMBAI: After Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner’s United Artists and David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants Inc inked a deal with the striking Hollywood writers, now The Weinstein Company has followed suit and has signed an interim agreement with the Writers Guild of America (WGA).


The Weinstein Company’s Harvey Weinstein said, “It’s important for the business to get the ball rolling and get back to work. While we understand and respect both sides of this issue, this agreement is a catalyst in bringing both sides back to the table so real conversations can begin. We should not forget that this time of year should be a time of celebration for our industry and it won’t be until this strike is resolved.”


Writers Guild of America, West executive director and WGA chief negotiator David Young said, “The Guild is proud to move forward with The Weinstein Company and hopes that other studios will follow its example. The conglomerates walked away from bargaining and have refused to resume negotiations, but this shows we can sign deals that are fair for writers and the companies that employ them.”


Pertinent to note here is that due to the strike that has been on since 5 November, 2007, this year’s Golden Globes awards ceremony has also been cancelled. The fate of the Oscars, which are scheduled to be held on 24 February, 2008, also hang in mid-air. The strike today entered its 68th day.


Talks between the Hollywood studios and the WGA broke off in December and since then there have been no attempts to resume talks. United Artists inked a deal with WGA on 7 January.


The terms of the agreement between the WGA and United Artists features all the proposals that WGA was preparing to make when the conglomerates left the bargaining table a month ago. Those proposals include appropriate minimums and residuals for new media (whether streamed or downloaded, as well as original made-for content), along with basic cable and pay-TV increases, feature animation and reality TV coverage, union solidarity language, and important enforcement, auditing, and arbitration considerations.


The WGA is also in talks with other independent companies, including Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.


In a related development, the Writers Guild of America (West) will be announcing the 2008 Writers Guild Awards winners on 9 February. However, there will be no WGA, West show until the strike is over. 


What remains to be seen in whether other studios plan to break from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and sign deals with the WGA. And if so, when?

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