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Dax Phelan
Director , Producer , Screenwriter
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The WGA Strike: "The Weinstein Company Makes Deal With Striking Writers"

By Steve Gorman and Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Weinstein Co., the film and TV company run by sibling media moguls Harvey and Bob Weinstein, has reached a deal to allow striking Hollywood writers to return to work for the studio, a company spokesman said on Thursday.

A formal agreement with the Writers Guild of America, similar to one reached on Monday by Tom Cruise's production label, United Artists, was expected to be signed and announced by day's end, spokesman Matthew Frankel told Reuters.

Both Weinstein and United Artists, controlled by Metro Goldwyn-Mayer Inc, are especially vulnerable to strike-related disruptions as they struggle at the box office.

Launched in 2005 by the founders of Miramax Films with nearly $1 billion in funding, Weinstein has suffered a bumpy year with flops like the war-themed drama "Grace is Gone," Scarlett Johansson comedy "The Nanny Diaries" and the double-horror feature "Grindhouse."

UA's first film under new management, the antiwar drama "Lions for Lambs," co-starring Cruise and director Robert Redford, also drew lackluster ticket sales.

While news of a second high-profile film company defecting from the major studios marked a symbolic victory for the WGA, it was unlikely to change the larger dynamic of Hollywood's 10-week-old labor clash.

Still, it came on the same day a leading media executive in the dispute suggested a deadlock in contract talks with striking writers might soon be broken.

"We sincerely hope talks begin shortly and that there is a resolution," CBS Corp. chief executive Leslie Moonves told investors at a Citigroup conference in New York City.

"I can tell you there are some steps that are being taken to push that ahead," Moonves added in one of the few upbeat public assessments from an entertainment CEO in recent weeks.

The WGA launched its strike against major studios, represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, on November 5 in a contract dispute that hinges on how writers should be paid for work distributed on the Internet.

The walkout by 10,500 film and TV writers has thrown the TV industry into disarray, derailed several movie productions and is threatening to spoil the annual year-end awards season.

Negotiations to settle the strike collapsed in acrimony last month, and WGA has since begun pursuing separate agreements with smaller, independent production entities.

Meanwhile, prospects for an overall settlement have been muddied by reports that the Directors Guild of America was holding informal talks with the producers alliance to lay the groundwork for its own contract negotiations to begin soon.

The DGA, whose contract covering 13,000 members expires on June 30, is seen as less militant than the writers and more likely to reach a deal quickly with the studios, one that could undermine the writers' bargaining position.

Others say the directors might help bring about a speedier end to the writers' strike by negotiating an agreement with studios that could serve as a template for a WGA settlement.

Frankel said the Weinstein deal is similar to a WGA pact with TV production company Worldwide Pants Inc., owned by late-night TV host David Letterman, that allowed his show to return to the air earlier this month with his writing team.

The Weinstein deal paves the way for that company to resume production of the movie musical "Nine," an adaptation of the Frederico Fellini classic "8 1/2," to be directed and choreographed by Rob Marshall.

"I can tell you there are some steps that are being taken to push that ahead," Moonves added in one of the few upbeat public assessments from an entertainment CEO in recent weeks.

The WGA launched its strike against major studios, represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, on November 5 in a contract dispute that hinges on how writers should be paid for work distributed on the Internet.

The walkout by 10,500 film and TV writers has thrown the TV industry into disarray, derailed several movie productions and is threatening to spoil the annual year-end awards season.

Negotiations to settle the strike collapsed in acrimony last month, and WGA has since begun pursuing separate agreements with smaller, independent production entities.

Meanwhile, prospects for an overall settlement have been muddied by reports that the Directors Guild of America was holding informal talks with the producers alliance to lay the groundwork for its own contract negotiations to begin soon.

The DGA, whose contract covering 13,000 members expires on June 30, is seen as less militant than the writers and more likely to reach a deal quickly with the studios, one that could undermine the writers' bargaining position.

Others say the directors might help bring about a speedier end to the writers' strike by negotiating an agreement with studios that could serve as a template for a WGA settlement.

Frankel said the Weinstein deal is similar to a WGA pact with TV production company Worldwide Pants Inc., owned by late-night TV host David Letterman, that allowed his show to return to the air earlier this month with his writing team.

The Weinstein deal paves the way for that company to resume production of the movie musical "Nine," an adaptation of the Frederico Fellini classic "8 1/2," to be directed and choreographed by Rob Marshall.

over 11 years ago 0 likes  3 comments  0 shares
Photo 23902
Curious as to what terms the Weinsteins and Letterman agreed on... how are you Daxy baby? Have gone back to cutting my film but still have your advice in mind for when I get back to writing. I think this strike only benefits people like me b/c it's a hiatus for me to write scripts before the rest of the world comes back to life! heh heh :) (: shit (: ?*&% :) (: oh, hell
over 11 years ago
Default avatar
JS
I'm glad to see progress is being made, even if it's not so far the perfect result. I worry that the DGA results could accidentally have adverse effects on the WGA, but hopefully it may help move along talks and agreements. I just really feel sorry for you guys, all you want is to write and be paid fairly for doing so.
over 11 years ago
Photo 23337
Thanks for all the updates! Good to read from an insider perspective.
over 11 years ago

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