Spanish pic-dubbers strike settled as fall crush starts

A 101-day strike by dubbing actors, which had paralyzed film dubbing in Madrid and Barcelona, was settled this week, thus removing any threat of disruption to the crowded fall season.

Only one major U.S. release was affected by the dispute during the summer — WB’s “Dennis the Menace,” which was put back by two weeks — because distribs arranged to have films dubbed in regions that remained outside the strike, and in neighboring countries such as France.

Actors’ leaders hailed the new agreement, which hikes fees for actors, dubbing directors and adaptors by up to 27%.

But distribs said the dubbing studios had been prepared from the outset for substantial pay raises, and that actors had lost the other key battle — for more creative control.

“The actors wanted to run the business, leaving the studios as a kind of service company. They wanted the dubbing directors to have more power in decision-making, to effectively run the studios,” said one U.S. major rep.

“The actors lost (that argument), so this is a face-saving exercise for them.”

The distrib said he expected the $ 25,000 average tab for dubbing a film to rise by about 20%, but opined that would still be reasonable.

One unintended effect of the strike was that distribs discovered they could get films dubbed outside of Madrid and Barcelona with no loss of quality, the distrib noted.

Nevertheless, Vicente Gisbert, spokesman for the dubbing actors in Madrid, described the agreement as “historic.”

The so-called national agreement does not cover all of Spain — applying only to Barcelona, Madrid and those regions where there was no local pact. Excluded are Galicia and Valencia, both dubbing centers.

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