Lionsgate, Marvel reach deals with striking writers

Fri Jan 25, 2008 1:21am EST
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By Sue Zeidler

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Film and television studio Lionsgate on Thursday said it reached an interim agreement with the Writers Guild of America (WGA) enabling striking Hollywood writers to work on its projects.

Comic-book-hero movie company Marvel Studios, a unit of Marvel Entertainment Inc., and the guild also said they had reached an agreement.

Writers and producers resumed talks this week aimed at ending a nearly three-month strike that has stopped most prime-time television production, and some hope smaller deals put pressure on the big studios.

Writers already have reached interim deals with studios including United Artists, the film production house backed by Tom Cruise, and The Weinstein Co., run by media-mogul brothers Harvey and Bob Weinstein.

Representatives of the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) went back to the table for informal talks this week for the first time since their contract talks collapsed on December 7.

The "informal discussions" are aimed at laying the groundwork for official bargaining to resume.

"The writers' issue seems on its way to being solved, and Lionsgate felt it was an important time, particularly in view of our TV series, to have our writer partners get back to work," Lionsgate said in a statement. "We look forward to a broad industry agreement soon," the company said.

Upcoming Lionsgate films include "Rambo," "The Eye" and "Saw 5," while its television series include "Weeds," "Mad Men" and a new show, "Fear Itself."   Continued...

<p>Supporters and members of the Writers Guild of America picket outside the News Corp building in New York, December 4, 2007. An interim production deal between striking Hollywood writers and the Lionsgate film and television studio is imminent, said to source close to the talks on Thursday. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton</p>