UA makes a deal with the WGA


Divide and conquer has been the new plan of the WGA and with the Letterman deal and now a small studio agreeing to the WGA terms, this is about to get way more interesting in the next couple weeks.

SHOCKER! Striking WGA Will Announce Side Deal With Tom Cruise's United Artists

This is big. This is BIG! Because WGA sources just told me that the guild has clinched an "Independent Agreement" with Tom Cruise's and Paula Wagner's re-started United Artists. This now means that 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.

I'm told that, like Letterman's company, UA has accepted the very same proposals that the WGA presented to the media conglomerates when the Alliance Of Motion Picture & Television Producers walked out of contract negotiations back on December 7th. "It's the same kind of agreement that the guild made with [David Letterman's] Worldwide Pants. But 'interim agreement' is not the right word," a WGA insider explained to me. "At the end of the day, once an overall agreement is done between the WGA and AMPTP, if the terms and conditions of that agreement are more favorable to UA, they will be able to enjoy that. This essentially means that UA has the ability to be in business with the WGA."

The official announcement will be made on Sunday in order to get maximum media coverage on Monday, I understand. My sources had no information about which UA movies stalled because of the strike might get re-started. Cruise's movies-only studio is partnered with MGM, which knew about the negotiations underway, I've learned. I'm told the deal was hammered out under the utmost secrecy by UA's Paula Wagner, who has long been Cruise's producing partner, and WGA leaders Dave Young and Patric Verrone. Guild sources said it definitely helped during negotiations that Cruise is a longtime SAG member and Wagner also started out as an actress before she became an agent then producer and then UA studio mogul. "They said, 'All we want to do is make movies. And we know that you can't do that without the artists, especially the ones that create the stories. And those are the writers.' "

Of course, UA was originally founded some 86 years ago by movie greats Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and D.W. Griffith who wanted to get out from under the moguls' control and start an artists-friendly studio. After a long time when the studio was essentially dormant, Cruise and Wagner announced the rebirth of UA in November 2006. They followed that up about 9 months later with the news that Merrill Lynch had raised $500 million to finance UA's film production.

Posted by Nikki Finke on Friday, Jan 4th, 2008 at 09:08PM
So Hollywood's best writers will be put to work on Battlefield Earth 2 and Dianetics:The Movie. Great.


Registered User
Isn't UA owned by Sony? How can they make a deal with a subsidiary and still be striking the parent comany?
So Hollywood's best writers will be put to work on Battlefield Earth 2 and Dianetics:The Movie. Great.
Cruise might be a douche, but he's not as bad as Travolta.

UA actually owns a lot of great scripts/books/old movie rights. When Cruise/Wagner got kicked to the curb from Paramount they took their acquisitions with them.

They could start making some great films and get a jump on grabbing talent from other projects that fell apart because they couldn't do rewrites.

And to answer mascan42, UA is aligned with MGM, which itself is aligned with Sony, but they set up these companies to isolate them encase of lawsuits. It's all shady, so I guess they can get away with it. Look up "Entertainment Partners" it's a company that owns one office the size of a large supermarket in Burbank, but they "employ" like fifty thousand people working in TV and Film. I've never had anything to do with EP but half the jobs I've had out here said I work for them.

Basically UA is now allowed to take pitch meetings, receive spec scripts, work on rewrites on projects that are already in development. Hopefully this will scare similar size companies like Lionsgate and The Weinsteins to follow suit and will help in ending the strike.


En Taro Anthony
Yea, UA was MGM's bitch and has been for couple decades now. Sony owns 20% or so of MGM but they're not the biggest owners. Some other company owns 29%. An interesting quirk is that MGM actually uses Fox for its distribution. They used to use Sony for most of its films but now they're using Fox. I suppose you could argue that Sony is trying to keep it all in the blu-ray family and throw a bone to Fox.