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Hollywood on strike: A $3 billion curtain call nobody applauded for

Lights, camera, stop! If you’ve been dreaming of your next binge-watching session, Hollywood might have other plans. In a plot twist worthy of a classic drama, Tinseltown finds itself in turmoil, with a potential $3 billion dent in California’s pocketbook, all within a span of 100 days. Sounds like a movie plot? Well, it’s real life. And this saga is making even the hard-to-impress critics sit up.

For the first time since the groovy era of 1960, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and SAG-AFTRA have joined forces, not for an epic crossover movie, but for a shared mission on the picket line. The crux of their grievance? The underwhelming slice of the streaming pie they’re receiving and the looming dark cloud of artificial intelligence threatening their craft.

“History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes,” Mark Twain once said. And the current situation resonates eerily with a chapter from 2007. Remember the writers’ strike that year? It wasn’t just a writer’s block; it was a block that cost California a whopping $2.1 billion, per the Milken Institute. And guess what? Professor Todd Holmes of Cal State Northridge, with his industry acumen, bases the current predicament’s estimate on that very incident.

But here’s where the plot thickens: the ripple effect. It’s not just the charismatic actors or the brilliant writers feeling the heat. Joe from the local diner, the guys at the catering service, the unsung heroes in construction, and even Mrs. Lee from the corner dry cleaners are grappling with this unforeseen plot twist. As Holmes aptly puts it to CNBC, “A lot of different people are impacted surrounding the industry.” And the impact isn’t just a tearjerker; it’s causing them genuine hardship.

If this were a three-act structure, we’re currently in the tension-filled second act. Should the strikes roll on till the golden hues of October, California’s losses could escalate to between $4 to $5 billion, Holmes predicts. That’s like producing five box office duds in a row. Ouch.

However, in the cinematic universe of life, every dark cloud has a silver lining. On the national front, Hollywood has been the gift that keeps on giving. The US economy has enjoyed the blockbuster impact of mega-hits like “Barbie” (who knew she wasn’t just a doll?) and “Oppenheimer.” So, while California grapples with this plot twist, the nation finds solace in the silver screen’s shimmer.

In conclusion, whether this episode ends in a cliffhanger or a heartwarming resolution, one thing’s for certain: Hollywood remains, as always, unpredictable. And as we wait with bated breath for the curtain to rise on the next act, let’s hope it’s a happy ending for all. 🍿