About a month after a similar deal with Netflix, the Writers Guild of America informed members that it made more than $4 million in previously unpaid interest and residuals in a deal with Amazon.
The multimillion-dollar settlement is the result of arbitration over the compensation of 37 screenwriters on 31 movies distributed by Amazon, the guild told members on Wednesday. the hollywood reporter Has confirmed. (Deadline was the first to report the news; THR has reached out to Amazon for comment.)
“Like Netflix, Amazon had been systematically understating the licensing fees charged on theatrical films where it was both the producer and distributor,” WGA West’s message to members read. “Amazon even underpaid the residuals of the films it acquired from independent producers, charging a low license fee for these films instead of paying the writer a residual of 1.2% of the actual license fee paid to the producer, as requires the MBA (Minimum Basic Agreement). ).”
In early August, the guild informed members of an arbitration with Netflix triggered by the 2018 film. bird box that resulted in hundreds of writers receiving $42 million of previously unpaid residuals. The Guild argued that when Netflix produced its own movies, it underpaid based on licensing fees that were not equal to the licensing fees paid for movies produced by third parties. The Guild wanted Netflix to use its “cost plus” model to calculate licensing fees for movies produced by other companies on its own movies. After the Guild’s victory in arbitration, WGA leaders told members in August that the union continues to seek $13.5 million in interest on late payment of residuals.
In its communication to members on Wednesday, the Guild claimed that Amazon previously tried to use the same “poor” license fee formula that Netflix once employed. After the WGA won millions in its arbitration over those fees and the resulting waste with the streamer, Amazon agreed to replace its approach for its original films with one that would calculate licensing fees as 111 percent of gross production budgets, it said. WGA. The Guild added: “Amazon has also agreed to pay residuals of 1.2% of the actual license fee paid to the producer for the films purchased.”
In total, the guild said, 19 writers who worked on Amazon-produced movies will receive $2.1 million in residuals and $1.2 million in interest, while 18 writers on movies purchased by the company will receive $458,126 in residuals and $308,874 in interest.