Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Hollywood Update: Universal Pictures Makes a Deal with AMC Theaters, CAA Lays Off and Furloughs a Lot of People


Creative Artists Agency is in trouble. They’ve laid off 90 agents and executives, and furlough 275 employees. They’ve also moved out of their offices in Century City, a building known as the Death Star that they built, completely replacing the Century City Mall and movie theater (where I once lost my car in the parking lot on a first date, but that’s another story).

CAA, as it is known throughout the world, holds itself out as the number 1 agency, the Big Guys on the block. But they are human, just like WME, ICM, and everyone else. Right now, Hollywood is closed. There are no deals, very little is shooting or even in pre-production. This news is not unexpected but pretty upsetting. Below the following Universal item I’ve printed the message to CAA employees.

Universal Pictures made a deal with AMC Theaters so their movies can play there if we ever return to business.  AMC has agreed that Universal can put their big movies on streaming and VOD just three weeks after they play in theaters. There are undisclosed sums that will travel from Universal to AMC to compensate them. Also, Universal can only put the films on VOD for $20, they can’t put them on DVD or stream them on Netflix. But all this is a BIG deal, and will probably spread to the other studios. Will it be all their films? Not really. But if Universal has  good mid level picture that isn’t picking up physical audiences and has really good reviews, this is a way to get it to broader audiences.

“The theatrical experience continues to be the cornerstone of our business,” said Donna Langley, chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group. “The partnership we’ve forged with AMC is driven by our collective desire to ensure a thriving future for the film distribution ecosystem and to meet consumer demand with flexibility and optionality.”

Here’s the CAA message to the troops:

“CAA began working remotely earlier this year due to the pandemic. Everyone at the company participated in reducing compensation with the hope that we could keep all employees financially whole through the end of our fiscal year, September 30th, 2020.

We are honoring that commitment, including for those impacted by today’s announcement.

But, with greater visibility into the COVID-19 challenges of fiscal year 2021, we have made the difficult decision to implement workforce reductions, in addition to our ongoing cost-saving measures.

Effective this week, approximately 90 agents and executives from departments across the agency will be leaving. In addition, we are furloughing approximately 275 assistants and other staff. The company will continue to fully pay the health plan premiums for those being furloughed.

This is a painful and unprecedented moment, and words are insufficient. Today, we simply say that we extend our sincere appreciation and deepest gratitude to our departing colleagues.”

If anyone wants talk about this from the agency, confidentiality guaranteed, send me a message at showbiz411@gmail.com



Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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