Today's Negotiations To End The WGA Strike?

But could the force majeure clause postpone a deal?

by | November 26, 2007 | Comments

For the first time in over three weeks, things are looking up for the Writers Guild of America (WGA) negotiations. Just in time for the holidays, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and the WGA are meeting today to discuss negotiations.

Both parties are hoping to make a deal in order to end the strike, which has already shut down and postponed several television shows and films. There is a news blackout in effect for today’s negotiations, so eager strike followers won’t know about the outcome for some time.

However, many industry insiders are worried about the probability of a deal being reached in the near future, due to force majeure clauses. The force majeure clause exists to protect all parties from contractual obligations in times of extraordinary circumstances (such as war, natural disasters, and strikes).

If the studios wait two additional weeks, they could invoke this clause — and drop or suspend projects of their choosing. Insiders worry that the studios could benefit from waiting until the clause is effect, in order to have control over which projects would be dropped. Force majeure also allows studios to suspend actors’ contracts. This could give the studios the early advantage of firing currently employed castmembers before the Screen Actors Guild contract expires in seven months.

Even without the force majeure clause in effect, many high profile projects have already been postponed or cancelled. Over the weekend, Brad Pitt announced he was dropping out of Taylor Hackford‘s State of Play because Universal insisted on moving forward with a script Pitt was unhappy with. Other highly anticipated films have also been delayed due to unworkable scripts, such as Oliver Stone‘s Pinkville and The Da Vinci Code prequel, Angels and Demons. Take a look at RT’s report on some of the films that have been affected by the strike.

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