As the strikes march on and studios lose more money than it took to reach a deal, Warner Bros. has taken to suspending deals with producers.
The Writers’ Guild of America strike has now started its fourth month, and studios have continued to make arrangements except for the ones that could end the strike and make everyone happy. David Zaslav, the CEO of the legacy film company, stated that the studio stands to lose up to $500 million in 2023 due to the strike. To put that in perspective, the WGA’s deal with Warners would amount to $47 million for the year, which is around the amount for a superstar’s paycheck like Will Smith for one film.
The Hollywood Reporter has just learned that Warner Bros. has suspended deals with its top creatives. This includes deals with J.J. Abram’s Bad Robot, Greg Berlanti, known for Superman & Lois, Chuck Lorre, known for Bob Hearts Abishola, Bill Lawrence, who just ended a big run with Ted Lasso and currently with Shrinking, John Wells, known for Maid, and Mindy Kaling, who is behind such projects as Sex Lives of College Girls. Sources have told THR that Chuck Lorre’s multi-year contract with the studio was quietly suspended back in May, just as the writers’ guild started the strike.
The WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have met a couple of times in attempts to come to an agreement and reach a deal over AI-related issues and streaming transparency in the last month. Both attempts failed to put an end to the strikes. This development is similar to moves made to lower-level writer pacts that the studio suspended within the first month of the strikes. The force behind HBO’s major hit Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin, updated fans on his blog that his deal with the cable network had been suspended earlier in the strikes back in July.
The deal suspension has now risen to producers and mega-producers who aren’t necessarily writers, but they were contractually obligated to continue with their duties as producers. Their deals with the projects in development at the studio are suspended, but it is important to note that they are not fully canceled or jettisoned. It is understood that once everything is resolved, Warner Bros. will need the said producers to fast-track their writing in order to run the productions quickly to make up for the lack of content when the strikes put a delay on productions.