The major entertainment studios and the union representing tens of thousands of striking actors will return to the negotiating table on Tuesday, less than two weeks after talks were suspended because the sides remained far apart on significant issues.
The restart of negotiations was announced in a joint statement on Saturday from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which bargains on behalf of the studios, and SAG-AFTRA, the actors’ union. Four top studio executives — NBCUniversal’s Studio Group chairwoman and chief content officer, Donna Langley; the Netflix co-chief executive Ted Sarandos; the Walt Disney Company chief executive Robert A. Iger; and Warner Bros. Discovery’s chief executive David Zaslav — will take part in the talks, as they did before the suspension.
The renewal of discussions is welcome news for an entertainment industry that has largely been at a standstill for months because of dual strikes by writers, who walked out in May, and the actors, who joined them in July. On Oct. 9, the Writers Guild of America ratified its new contract and there had been hope that a new deal with the actors would follow.
The strikes have been devastating financially for many, both within and outside the industry. The California economy has lost an estimated $5 billion. But an agreement with the actors would mean getting back to work without losing the entirety of the fall television schedule or having next summer’s moviegoing season upended.
Instead, conversations between the alliance and the actors’ union fell apart on Oct. 11. The studios balked at a new proposal that would involve a viewership bonus that they said would cost them close to $800 million.
In an interview after the discussions ended, the union’s chief negotiator, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, said: “Their position was the only way they’ll keep talking is if we give them a whole new set of counters. They’re not going to respond to what we gave them. They just want us to go back and start over and that’s not going to happen.”
In an earnings call this past week, Mr. Sarandos said the proposal “really broke our momentum.”
Like their counterparts in the screenwriters’ guild, leaders of the actors’ union have called this moment “existential.” They say the streaming era has had a negative impact on their working lives and their compensation. They are seeking wage increases, as well as protections around the use of artificial intelligence.
This past week, a group of A-list actors including George Clooney, Emma Stone and Tyler Perry made a proposal to the union that involved, among other things, the guild’s top earners paying more in dues in an attempt to bring an end to the strike. The proposal was immediately rejected by the guild but its existence suggested that its membership was getting restless.
Social media posts criticizing the guild also started popping up, including one from the former union president, Melissa Gilbert. She took the union to task for sending out Halloween guidelines in which members were told to not dress as characters from major studio productions or post photographs of the costumes online because it could be seen as promoting the work of the studios they are striking against.
“THIS is what you guys come up with,” Ms. Gilbert wrote on Instagram. “Literally no one cares what anyone wears for Halloween. I mean, do you really think this kind of infantile stuff is going to end the strike? We look like a joke.”