The Impact of the SAG-AFTRA Strike on Lionsgate and the Future of Production

Jon Feltheimer, the CEO of Lionsgate, expressed his satisfaction with the resolution of the strike between SAG-AFTRA and studios. He mentioned that now they can all focus on creating outstanding content for a global audience. During a call with Wall Street analysts to discuss the company’s second-quarter earnings, CFO Jimmy Barge estimated the impact of the strike on fiscal 2024 to be around $30 million. This amount is lower than the original forecast, with the majority of the impact occurring in the television group during the September quarter. However, there may still be a lingering $15 million to $20 million hit due to episodic delivery delays and increased production costs. This article delves into the perspectives of Lionsgate executives regarding the restart of production and the long-term consequences on costs.

As the industry gears up for the revival of production after the strike, Lionsgate Television chief Kevin Beggs emphasized the need for speed. The company has already resumed production on two network comedies, “Extended Family” and “Ghosts.” Additionally, they are sprinting to get “Power Book IV” back into production while attempting to minimize costs. Although a few series may have been casualties of the strike, Beggs stated that they managed to mitigate the impact reasonably well. Lionsgate aims to strategically manage enhanced costs, both on the writing and performing sides, and pass them along to buyers. Given that everyone in the industry is facing similar challenges, there is an acknowledgment that costs are inevitable.

Joe Drake, Lionsgate’s Motion Picture chair, highlighted their proactive approach to prepare for the end of the strike. The studio secured waivers and lined up productions, ensuring a smooth transition once the strike was resolved. In the pipeline for the upcoming year are highly anticipated projects such as the Antoine Fuqua-directed Michael Jackson biopic, “Now You See Me 3,” and a Highlander reboot featuring Henry Cavill. By efficiently planning and organizing their projects, Lionsgate positioned itself well for a seamless resumption of production activities.

It is undeniable that the strike has resulted in new costs due to enhanced contracts demanded by writers and actors. However, CEO Jon Feltheimer expressed his acceptance of this reality. He acknowledged the need to find ways to manage these costs, even if it meant putting in extra effort to streamline the business and identify areas for cost reduction. Executives like Kevin Beggs and Starz CEO Jeff Hirsch are working diligently to create a smart slate of content for Starz, taking into account the new financial landscape. In the quest for equity among all industry participants, Lionsgate remains committed to being thoughtful about how they finance their productions and operations.

As Lionsgate moves past the strike and adapts to the changes in the industry, they remain optimistic about their future prospects. By overcoming the challenges posed by the strike, they have demonstrated resilience and adaptability. The company’s ability to navigate through obstacles, secure waivers, and line up productions in advance showcases their strategic planning and operational expertise. With a strong lineup of upcoming projects, Lionsgate is well-positioned to continue entertaining audiences worldwide.

The SAG-AFTRA strike undoubtedly had an impact on Lionsgate’s operations and finances. However, the company managed to navigate through the difficulties and minimize the overall impact. By swiftly restarting productions and strategically managing costs, Lionsgate aims to ensure a smooth recovery in the post-strike era. As the industry evolves, Lionsgate remains committed to delivering exceptional content to a global audience while simultaneously addressing the financial challenges posed by the strike.


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