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Hollywood writers, actors strikes could cost Illinois $500 million

The strike could have an impact on early business at Chicago’s new film and television production facility, The Fields Studios, a $250 million project set to open in the spring on a 21-acre campus at Diversey Avenue and Pulaski Road.

“It won’t affect our scheduled opening, but it absolutely could affect our occupancy for year one, as typically we line up productions months in advance of them taking the space,” said a spokesman for The Fields Studios, which is owned by New York-based developer Knickpoint Ventures.

Chicago’s largest studio, Cinespace, said in a statement that while the strike “has created significant challenges for the entertainment industry, we’re taking measures to safeguard jobs in the face of the current shutdown in production and looking positively to the future when production resumes.” The company did not comment on the measures they’re taking or how it has affected its finances.

The two unions — which are negotiating separately with the production companies and studios, represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers — are seeking higher pay and more job security in an entertainment industry some say has been upended by streaming services and further disrupted by emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence.

It’s unclear how far along the discussions are. One source familiar with the situation said there has been a significant change in the atmosphere around the talks recently and “things are moving in the right direction,” but no timetable has been given. 

For Courtney Rioux, an actor with a recurring role on “Chicago Med,” the strike has been painful, but she think it’s necessary to ensure better contracts for workers.

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