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Hollywood’s Most Controversial Moments Of 2023 Explained

The Hollywood news story of the year was easily the Writers Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild strikes. Writers went on strike in May after contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) failed. Issues the WGA was striking over included the lack of minimum staffing requirements in writers’ rooms, the lack of residuals from streaming, and the threat of being forced to work with AI-generated material. The AMPTP went months without negotiating, but eventually, a satisfactory deal was reached in September and ratified in October.

The SAG strike, which began in July, was dealing with similar problems to the WGA regarding streaming residuals and AI, along with concerns about background actors losing work to digital scans. The strike concluded with a tentative agreement in November, though concerns about loopholes regarding the usage of digital doubles and AI stirred additional controversy before its ultimate ratification in December.

Effects of the dual strikes — the first simultaneous actors’ and writers’ strike since 1960 — were felt most immediately on television. Late-night talk shows were gone from the air as soon as the WGA strike began, and fall network lineups were unusually empty. As the months dragged on, theaters were impacted as well, with major films like “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” “Dune: Part Two,” and “Kraven the Hunter” delayed until the actors could finally promote them. The full impacts of the strike will still be felt in 2024, with even more delays due to the AMPTP’s reluctance to negotiate fair deals.

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