actors strike

The Writers Guild of America has been on strike since May, and is now being joined by The Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. In short, now the actors are striking too.

The strike is already moving at full swing, with the cast of Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated Oppenheimer walking out of the movie’s UK premiere. The strike centers around the abysmal compensation writers and actors have received in regards to streaming residuals, especially as virtually all digital media consumption moves to the streaming platforms.

The disparity in pay between traditional cable and streaming has no better example than Netflix’s hit prison drama Orange is the New Black. As a New Yorker Article on the series points out, just about the entire cast was forced to keep their day jobs, and some even lost money during the time they were on the show.

Emma Myles, who was on the show for six seasons, admitted that her residuals amounted to about 20 bucks last year.

“When you’re a kid, you have this idea: once I’m on something that people actually see, I’ll be rich, and I’ll have a house that has a bathtub,” Myles said. “And you look around after being on a hit show, and you’re, like, wow, I’m still in the same one-bedroom apartment.”

It’s no secret that studios and media companies have been screwing actors and shows for a long time. And it got us thinking. What are some other shows or movies that were completely ruined, or woefully under compensated by corporate greed? Here are just a few.

Earlier this month, the science fiction movie Crater was released, and then immediately removed from Disney+ for cost cutting reasons. Starring Mckenna Grace and Kid Cudi, the movie wasn’t just some random indie film, but now is completely impossible to watch. The snap decision left those who worked on the movie disheartened, and Twitter users prophesied the death of the ‘cult classic.’

My Name Is Earl was a popular 2005 sitcom with a decent following. But after four seasons it ended somewhat abruptly, and with a cliffhanger. In a Reddit ask me anything, the show’s creator Greg Garcia revealed that it was never supposed to end that way, or even at all.

Lead actor Jason Lee stated that the decision blindsighted the cast. “I'm not NBC, I didn't cancel the show, man. It was out of my hands.” The show ended after Fox and NBC were unable to come to a deal to match the show’s growth in popularity.

Bat Girl was a superhero sized controversy last year, when Warner Brothers refused to release the entirely completed movie. Although the studio claimed that the movie was “unreleasable,” lead actress Leslie Grace claimed that the cut she saw was “incredible.” Unfortunately, audiences will never be able to judge for themselves. With Warner Bros choosing to put all their eggs in the Flash basket, maybe they regret this decision a bit more now.

Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies, Star Trek: Prodigy, Queen of the Universe and The Game were all Paramount+ shows that saw only a single season before being canceled into oblivion. Seeing as legendary IPs such as Star Trek and Grease were involved, you'd think a studio like Paramount might care just a little bit more. But of course they didn't.

It can be hard to feel bad for people we perceive as celebrities, but it’s important to remember that this strike isn’t for the industry’s top faces, it's for everybody beneath them. And even for those we consider to have  “made it,” nothing is smooth sailing. A clip of the Australian actress Adelaide Kane went viral last year, as she revealed that her multi-millions in career earnings on paper amounted to next to nothing in real life.

In short, can we just pay people what they’re worth?