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Hollywood Moving On In Midst Of Economy, Actors' Troubles

Screen Actors Guild
Screen Actors Guild

The economy is facing its worst financial crisis since the depression and the Screen Actors Guild negotiating committee is encouraging its membership to vote to authorize a strike. But Hollywood is getting back to business.

The major movie studios have been pretty much holding off on launching production on their big budget films since SAG's contract with the studios expired June 30. But the studios need to fill their distribution slates for 2010 and 2011 and use the hundreds of millions of dollars in production financing committed to making movies. So they're getting back to work in a big way.

A handful of films like Paramount/DreamWorks "Transformers 2" and Warner Bros. "Terminator Salvation" went back to work this summer despite fears of an actors walkout, working with all sorts of contingencies just in case. But that handful of films, and the ones shooting have been shooting without any problems, so now studios are moving forward on the next round of films, even though they won't be able to get strike insurance, or have any protection in case of a strike.

With these studio pics running between $100k and $500k per day, an actors' walkout could mean big trouble. Some studios will wait until next year before they start shooting, but for the most part the media giants are getting back to business, because they have little choice. Plus, with ongoing repercussions from the Writers' Guild strike, and fears about general economic meltdown, I'd be surprised if the SAG membership actually voted to authorize a strike.

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.