Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer Says He’s “Hopeful” For Productive IATSE Talks: “Nobody Really Wins In A Strike”

Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer conceded to having a degree of concern about IATSE’s July 31 strike deadline, but he remains “hopeful” that a work stoppage can be averted.

“I’m the CEO of a public company. I worry about everything every day,” the exec said in response to a Wall Street analyst’s question about IATSE during the company’s fiscal third-quarter earnings call. “Nobody really wins in a strike, honestly. We’re hoping that this strike won’t happen because we’ve got to keep growing this business and innovating. Everyone deserves a fair shake, and we think everybody who works below the line deserves a fair shake. I’m crossing my fingers and hopeful that there won’t be.”

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With negotiations between the guild and the AMPTP scheduled to begin next month, IATSE is making it clear to the industry at large that it is not inclined to shy away from a strike if talks are unsuccessful. “The Negotiating Committee is not interested in extending this agreement,” the guild’s website said in an update Thursday. IATSE President Matthew Loeb drew applause last month at a CES panel when he affirmed the union’s willingness to strike. “Nothing’s off the table, and we’re not going to give up our strength and our ability because they sapped us,” he said. “Everybody’s bank account got sapped because they were unreasonable for months and months. My folks aren’t going to just settle.”

The entertainment business is just getting back on its feet after last year’s dual strikes by the WGA and SAG-AFTRA. Lionsgate’s own results in the quarter offered a vivid illustration of the damage done by the labor impasse. Revenue in the company’s Television Production division plunged to $248.4 million from $605.4 million in the year-ago period, while profit dropped to $8.1 million from $71.5 million. In addition to the strikes impeding episodic deliveries, they also squeezed talent management subsidiary 3 Arts.

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