The Writers Guild of America and Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner’s United Artists Corporation are expected to make an announcement today about an interim agreement that would allow feature film writers to go back to work for the studio. As Nikki Finke of Deadline Hollywood Daily reports, “This is big. This is BIG!” Rumors are running rampant that the WGA is negotiating more side deals with The Weinstein Co., Lionsgate and Lucasfilm.
This now means that small and struggling UA has a leg up on every other Hollywood studio because it will be able to hire the striking writers. This is to date the first so-called side deal cut by the WGA with a movie studio since the strike began on November 3rd as part of the guild’s newly articulated “divide and conquer” strategy. The WGA’s first side deal with a production company was an “interim agreement” with David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants which owns both The Late Show and the Late Late Show airing on CBS. Granted, given how tiny UA is — only six executives — and how limited their movie development can be, this is more of a symbolic than a significant development in the ongoing WGA strike.