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AFTRA ACCEPTS DEAL - NO STRIKE!
Members of the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists have ratified the union's primetime deal, spurning SAG's avid campaigning to vote down the contract.
AFTRA said 62% of those voting supported the deal. Announcement came Tuesday evening following a month of bitter battling between the thesp unions.
The ratification was not a surprise due to the faltering economy and the lingering impact of the 100-day WGA strike. Terms in the AFTRA pact mirror those in the contracts signed by the WGA and DGA, along with the majors' final offer to SAG.
The results represent a slap to SAG leadership, which has held out for a better deal with the implied threat of a strike. SAG has yet to take a strike authorization vote and - given the AFTRA vote -- it's highly doubtful that it could achieve the needed 75% endorsement for a work stoppage.
SAG had been hoping that a defeat of the AFTRA deal would give it the increased leverage it needs to obtain better terms. Instead, it now faces the unsavory prospect of AFTRA signing up new shows shot on digital - an area of shared jurisdiction - with the new contract.
Ballots went out to all 70,000 AFTRA members, including 44,000 SAG members who belong to both unions. Alec Baldwin, Sally Field, Tom Hanks and Susan Sarandon backed the AFTRA deal while Viggo Mortensen, Jack Nicholson, Nick Nolte and Martin Sheen endorsed SAG's anti-AFTRA stance.
DAILY BOX OFFICE RESULTS
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WEINSTEIN'S LOOKING FOR FINANCIAL PARTNERS
Ryan Kavanaugh's Relativity Media has stepped in to co-finance the $80 million Rob Marshall musical "Nine," the jewel in Harvey Weinstein's crown.
Weinstein is also currently seeking a partner for inhouse auteur Quentin Tarantino's WWII spaghetti Western "Inglorious Bastards," a longtime passion project for the mogul. Tarantino is determined to finish the film in time for next year's Cannes festival.
The Weinstein Co. will distribute domestically; Lawrence Bender is producing.
"Nine," which is set to lense in the fall with Daniel Day-Lewis, Penelope Cruz and Nicole Kidman toplining, suffered delays due to the writers strike and financing hurdles. Javier Bardem dropped out of the project soon after he won the Oscar, and Marshall left his longtime ICM agent amid the stalls.
While backing these two major pictures, there are problems with other units of the company. Among TWC's recent woes is the decline in value of Genius Products (in which TWC owns 70%), which was touted on Wall Street as a source of huge profits early on. Genius has seen its stock shrink to 10¢ a share this week, down from some $10 several months ago. TWC's financial turbulence is seen on Wall Street as one of the root causes for the slide.
TWC, launched in 2005, has suffered a number of box office disappointments since its emancipation from onetime parent company Disney. Among the high-profile misses were the three-hour Robert Rodriguez/Tarantino "Grindhouse," which cost $100 million to make and market; "The Nanny Diaries"; and would-be Oscar entry "The Great Debaters." Sundance pickup "Grace Is Gone" was a B.O. no-show.
After Michael Moore's Oscar-nominated "Sicko" grossed only $25 million, the filmmaker took the deal for his "Fahrenheit 9/11" follow-up to rivals Overture and Paramount Vantage.
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