After mostly sitting on the sidelines since the June 30 expiration of the SAG contract, studios are preparing to put 40 or more films into production between spring and summer.

Hundreds of millions of dollars in production financing will be committed to fill slates for 2010 and 2011, signaling the end of the de facto thesp strike that has kept pic production at a low ebb for nearly a year.

Studios are nervous about the financial exposure they face if SAG does go on strike. But the prospect of gaping holes in their distribution slates for 2010 and 2011 is a worse scenario for the majors.

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