The Screen Actors Guild scaled back its contract demands in an effort to reach a deal with major Hollywood studios, a person familiar with contract talks said Friday.
SAG is now seeking what would effectively be a 15 percent increase in residual fees for DVD sales, said the person who was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.
Producers previously accused the guild of holding up talks by seeking to double payments that actors receive from DVD sales.
The revised proposal calls for producers to add health care and pension contributions to residual payments, which had not been the case previously, said another person close to the talks who also was unauthorized to speak publicly and sought anonymity.
The guild also reduced its demand for a 50 percent pay increase for guest stars on TV shows, both people said.
The disclosures came as the guild and studios agreed to a second extension of their talks through Tuesday, with one day off Sunday. The negotiations had been set to end temporarily on Friday after lasting 15 days.
Talks with the smaller American Federation of Television and Radio Artists had been set for Monday but were reset for Wednesday.
The guild’s softened positions came after the producers sent out a public missive Wednesday saying it would not accept demands for “huge increases in compensation and benefits.”
Friday’s developments represented a “hopeful sign” that a deal would be reached before the three-year contract covering theatrical movies and primetime TV shows expires June 30, said entertainment lawyer Jonathan Handel. The two sides are negotiating a multiyear contract, the length of which is still being hammered out.
“The question is, will negotiators succeed in closing a deal, or will they run out of runway?” Handel said.
SAG and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have said they want to avoid a repeat of the 100-day strike by Hollywood writers that shut down production of dozens of TV shows.
The guild, however, said before talks began that it would push for a better deal than writers and directors received in previous negotiations with studios.
The guild has stood by its earlier claims that actors were struggling economically.
In its Wednesday statement, the studio alliance said the DVD market was flat and it wasn’t the right time to add significant new costs. The studios also rebutted the guild’s claim that actors’ pay is declining.
Actors’ pay for theatrical-release movies rose 6 percent in 2007 from a year earlier to $596 million, and increased 1 percent to $705 million for television appearances, according to alliance estimates.
AFTRA was expected to reach a quick deal with the studios for a handful of primetime shows, including “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
Earlier this week, it said 93 percent of its members who voted had ratified a separate contract covering TV shows such as “Oprah” and “Entertainment Tonight.”
Most performers will receive a 3.5 percent pay increase retroactive to last November. New provisions were also set up for Internet content modeled on deals accepted by writers and directors earlier this year.