With the Golden Globes being the latest casualty of the writers strike in America, joining 24, Lost, Heroes, The Simpsons, Family Guy, King of the Hill, et al the television and movie industry is in free fall.
The strike, now in its third month, is over a new contract with studios for more money when their work is sold on DVD – they want a rise from 5 to 8 cents for every $19 DVD sold – and downloaded from the Internet – they earn nothing at the moment and they’re asking for 2.5%. At the moment only David Letterman’s independent production company, Worldwide Trousers, and Tom Cruise’s Untied Artists have signed deals with the writers but the major studios, always keen to hold onto their money, are not budging from their spot, even thought they could lose up to $7billion in revenue.
Currently, a number of high profile movies, including Transformers 2 and Thor, are on hold and directors in the middle of filming are unable to change scripts or re-shoot – according to reports JJ Abrams is itching to change scenes in his Star Trek movie but can’t change the script without the writers being on set. Films released in the first half of this year will already be in the editing process and therefore won’t suffer, so there’s no need to worry about Batman and Indy, but 2009 could end up being one of the worst years for film since the first writers strike in 1988 – the year that saw one of the word Bond movies, Licence to Kill, and the cancellation of Moonlighting – with the distinct possibility of nothing coming out at all.
Even if the dispute is solved in the next few months, the actors’ and directors’ guilds are planning to strike when their contracts with the studios finish in June, so at the moment, and unless a miracle takes place, we could all be stuck watching endless re-runs of Friends (a bit like Channel 4 but ALL THE TIME) without even any good movies to geek out over. If the Oscars end up being cancelled and, like the Golden Globes, turned into an hour-long press conference then we’ll know that we need to raid the classic sections of DVD stores for something decent to watch.