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Performers' unions take first step toward merger

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 10, 2003

The national directors for Hollywood's two major performers' unions voted for a proposed merger that they said would give them more bargaining power with entertainment conglomerates.

At a joint meeting, the national boards of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists on Saturday approved principles of consolidation that are the first step in forming a new union.

All 69 SAG directors voted in favor of the merger proposal. AFTRA approved the plan 72-3. The two unions represent about 130,000 performers.

The national boards will meet again April 5 in Washington, D.C., to vote on a constitution and a plan to implement the merger. If approved, 60 percent of both unions' members would have to okay it in a referendum. SAG members rejected a merger plan in 1999.

AFTRA represents recording artists, TV and radio broadcasters, and performers in daytime TV, game or reality shows. SAG represents actors in film, commercials and prime-time TV shows.

'How to Lose a Guy' wins at box office

Critics called it a bad date movie, but How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days courted moviegoers to the tune of $24.1-million in its first weekend for a No. 1 debut.

The martial-arts action comedy Shanghai Knights opened in second with $19.8-million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The musical Chicago, which tripled its theater count to 1,841 cinemas, climbed to No. 3 with $10.7-million, lifting its total to $63.7-million since opening in limited release at Christmas.

The weekend's other new wide release, Deliver Us From Eva, was No. 6 with $7.1-million.

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