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After harsh accusations became public regarding the working conditions for the employees making Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, one of Sony Pictures’ top producers.
Following Spider-Verse 2’s June 2023 release, after which it became one of the most successful movies of the year, a group of Sony Animation VFX artists made disturbing claims about their harsh working conditions under the film’s directing duo, Christopher Miller and Phil Lord.
Former Sony chairperson Amy Pascal even denied the reported conflict that arose between Lord and Sony Pictures, with Lord described as “forceful” with his demands and said to have wanted final approval on every sequence.
This led to many workers pushing through 11-hour work days and working seven days a week in some cases, which led many to become concerned about Sony’s practices in making its blockbuster outings.
Speaking with Variety, Sony Pictures producer and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse director Phil Lord addressed the reports of harsh working conditions and labor issues facing the movie’s staff that got out to the public.
Lord first addressed the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA stikes causing delays all over Hollywood, hoping that “both parties will come to negotiate in good faith and address the very real problems” so that workers can be paid as fairly as possible:
“I’ve always been optimistic about this labor movement, because these deals seem incredibly makeable, and the main problem is that only one party wants to negotiate. But as long as both parties will come to negotiate in good faith and address the very real problems, like writers’ pay — which is down 25% and is a concrete issue that can be addressed — and make the business healthy so people can do this job and pay their rent, we’re going to be in great shape. I’m frustrated, but I think this is an imminently solvable problem.”
Turning his attention to the working conditions on Spider-Verse 2, he only noted that he was “really proud of how hard everybody worked” while commenting on how demanding the movie was, sharing his pride in the work that was done:
“In terms of ‘Spider-Verse,’ that was a really hard movie to make. We’re really proud of how hard everybody worked, and it was very demanding. But we’re just really proud of the crew, and everything they put into it.”
While these reportedly harsh working conditions caused plenty of concerns for fans and fellow industry professionals following Spider-Verse 2’s debut, some of them seem to be par for the course working in an industry as tough as Hollywood.
Marvel Studios faced similar accusations over the past couple of years as the MCU expanded its Phase 4 slate, with many calling the company “horrible” to work for and one artist even saying Marvel “pushed [him] to leave the VFX industry” altogether.
Currently, most of the entertainment industry is on hiatus due to the aforementioned strikes, which actually ties back to Sony in one way as the company has yet to make major progress on the upcoming Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse.
And with that new threequel already being forced into a delay due to the strikes and other internal issues, the hope is that Sony will keep a closer eye on its employees’ working conditions even while they make their best efforts to end this trilogy on a high note.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is now available for purchase digitally and via Blu-ray.