The striking Writers' Guild of America (WGA) has reached a deal with two more film studios as hopes grow of a close to the lengthy industrial action.

Independent film producer Lionsgate and Marvel studio have signed interim agreements with the WGA similar to those signed with United Artists, The Weinstein Company and David Letterman's Worldwide Pants organisation.

The accords will allows Lionsgate to resume production on popular shows such as Weeds and Mad Money while Marvel will be able to restart writing upcoming projects such as Captain America, Ant-Man, Thor and The Avengers, studio chairman David Maisel was quoted by Variety as saying.

In a joint statement issued by WGA West president Patric M Verrone and WGA East chief Michael Winship, the union said it was "pleased Lionsgate has joined the growing number of companies that have signed interim agreements with the Writers Guild".

It added: "Lionsgate is considered a leader in the industry and its signing an interim agreement again confirms that it is possible for writers to be compensated fairly and respectfully for their work and for companies to operate profitably."

A Lionsgate statement said the studio felt it was "an important time, particularly in view of our TV series, to have our writer partners get back to work".

"We look forward to a broad industry agreement soon."

The writers' union has been on strike since November 5th after a dispute with the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) regarding royalty payments for works distributed on the internet, DVDs and mobile phones.

The recent Golden Globe awards were handed out at a press conference - after the ceremony was cancelled due to fears that actors would refuse to cross writers' picket lines - and this year's Oscars remain under threat of cancellation.

25/01/2008 12:42:07