Hollywood’s Strike Impact on Local Economies: Studios Save, but Communities Suffer

**How the Hollywood Writers’ Strike is Impacting Local Economies**

Ninety-four days and counting—that’s how long the Hollywood writers’ strike has been going on. In that time, Warner Bros. Discovery has saved around $100 million, it said while sharing its second-quarter earnings on Thursday. But while the entertainment giant is waiting idle, city and state economies that benefit from the film and television industry are feeling the brunt of the strike.

**Losses in Local Economies**

Film and television production hubs like New York, California, and Georgia are counting billions of dollars in losses. Local economies can rake in as much as $250,000 per day when a film shoots on location, and they get the added boost of tourism that popular titles can bring, according to the Motion Picture Association (MPA).

**Impact in Georgia**

In Georgia, film and TV productions generated $4.4 billion in the 2022 fiscal year, according to a press release. The state hosted 412 productions, including 32 feature films and 260 television and episodic productions. Earlier, Marvel’s Black Panther employed more than 3,100 local Georgia workers who earned over $26.5 million in wages, according to the MPA.

**Impact in New York and California**

Meanwhile, films like The Post and The Greatest Showman contributed over $108 million to New York state’s economy, and 20th Century Fox’s television series This Is Us brought in over $61.5 million to the California economy.

**Tax Breaks for Struggling Sectors**

Recently, California lawmakers extended a tax break for the state’s languishing film and TV sector as part of the new $311 billion budget it approved at the end of June.

**Uncertain Future for Warner Bros. Projects**

Warner Bros. Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels estimated in yesterday’s earnings call that the dual actors and writers strikes would end in early September. But he warned that the uncertainty of the work stoppage could affect the timing of the studio’s upcoming projects.

**Reasons for the Strike**

The Writers Guild of America went on strike May 2 when it was unable to settle a contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The Screen Actors Guild–American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) joined it on July 14 after failing to settle its contract. The unions are demanding that studios raise compensation for streaming content and develop guardrails around the use of A.I. in film and television.

**Stalled Productions and Resumed Negotiations**

The strikes have put a hold on movies like Dune 2 and Challengers (a tennis drama starring Zendaya), numerous Disney projects including the Marvel and Star Wars franchises, as well as new seasons of shows like White Lotus, The Last of Us, Stranger Things, and Euphoria. Leaders of the unions were scheduled to meet with studio representatives on Friday to resume negotiations for the first time since the strike’s start.

**Celebrities Support the Strike Fund**

Meanwhile, some of Hollywood’s biggest stars raised over $15 million for the strike fund, led by Meryl Streep and George Clooney. Other celebrities including Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Hugh Jackman, Dwayne Johnson, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Oprah Winfrey each gave $1 million or more. Though some actors are highly compensated, 85% of the union’s 160,000 members make less than $26,500 a year, Fran Drescher, actress and president of SAG-AFTRA, told the New York City Council on August 1.

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