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Last updated at 09:18 GMT, Monday, 16 February 2009

Hollywood economy worries


5 January 2009

Hollywood is preparing for another uncertain New Year with the possibilty of a strike by actors.

The strike could happen before the end of February after a vote by the actors' union, the Screen Actors Guild.

Peter Bowes

George Clooney

Actor George Clooney has asked the actors' union to think again about strike action.


Click to hear the report


The recession and the prospect of another strike in Hollywood could combine to make it a miserable New Year for the entertainment business.

The global credit crunch is making it much more difficult for studios to get funding for big budget pictures. High earning actors are being asked to lower their expectations and accept more modest salaries.

The Screen Actors Guild has said it will ballot its 120,000 members on a possible strike - although it needs a 75 per vote in favour before a walkout can be authorised by the union's leaders.

The mood of many is that now is not the time to rock the boat and that the fight over payments for work on the internet should wait until a later date.

Well known actors such as George Clooney and Tom Hanks have urged the Guild to reconsider its strategy.

The biggest casualty of a fresh round of industrial action, could be the Oscars ceremony. This year the show went ahead, but in a subdued fashion. The screenwriters strike, which lasted a 100 days, sapped the enthusiasm of Hollywood for the traditional party. But it's an event the studios rely on as a global shop front for their movies.

Peter Bowes, BBC, Los Angeles


Click to hear the words


the prospect of
the possibility of
big budget pictures
films that are very expensive to make
more modest salaries
pay that is not so high
a walkout
a strike
to rock the boat
to cause a problem
asked strongly
to reconsider its strategy
to think again and maybe change its plans for dealing with the situation
a subdued fashion
a quiet manner
sapped the enthusiasm
took away people's interest and excitement
a global shop front
an international advertisement