Scarlett Johansson Sues Disney Over ‘Black Widow’ Streaming Release

Brian in Mesa

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Scarlett Johansson Sues Disney Over ‘Black Widow’ Streaming Release



Black Widow has a new enemy: the Walt Disney Co.

Scarlett Johansson, star of the latest Marvel movie “Black Widow,” filed a lawsuit Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court against Disney, alleging her contract was breached when the media giant released the film on its Disney+ streaming service at the same time as its theatrical debut.

Ms. Johansson said in the suit that her agreement with Disney’s Marvel Entertainment guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release, and her salary was based in large part on the box-office performance of the film.
“Disney intentionally induced Marvel’s breach of the agreement, without justification, in order to prevent Ms. Johansson from realizing the full benefit of her bargain with Marvel,” the suit said.

A Disney spokesman said Ms. Johansson’s suit had no merit and is “especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.” The company said it “fully complied with Ms. Johansson’s contract and furthermore, the release of Black Widow on Disney+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20 million she has received to date.”

The suit could be a bellwether for the entertainment industry. Major media companies are giving priority to their streaming services in pursuit of growth, and are increasingly putting their high-value content on those platforms. Those changes have significant financial implications for actors and producers, who want to ensure that growth in streaming doesn’t come at their expense.

“This will surely not be the last case where Hollywood talent stands up to Disney and makes it clear that, whatever the company may pretend, it has a legal obligation to honor its contracts,” said John Berlinski, an attorney at Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP who represents Ms. Johansson.

The suit also notes that annual bonuses for Disney Chairman Robert Iger and Chief Executive Bob Chapek are tied to the performance of Disney+ and cites that as further motivation for putting “Black Widow” on the service. Disney disclosed in its 2021 proxy that Messrs Iger and Chapek both received bonuses for the success of Disney+. “In short, the message to—and from— Disney’s top management was clear: increase Disney+ subscribers, never mind your contractual promises, and you will be rewarded,” the suit said.

According to the complaint, Ms. Johansson’s representatives sought to renegotiate her contract after learning of the dual-release strategy for “Black Widow,” which she has said is her ninth and last Marvel movie. Disney and Marvel were unresponsive, the suit said.

The decision to put the movie on Disney+ is projected to cost Ms. Johansson more than $50 million, a person familiar with details of her contract claimed.

More at the link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/scarle...reaming-release-11627579278?mod=hp_lead_pos11
 
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Brian in Mesa

Brian in Mesa

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Disney Makes First Move in Scarlett Johansson’s ‘Black Widow’ Suit


Disney is demanding that Scarlett Johansson’s suit over her Black Widow pay be moved to arbitration. The filings came near midnight on Friday evening in Los Angeles Superior Court. The company has also revealed that on Aug. 10, it initiated arbitration against her.

In her complaint, Johansson alleges her contract was breached when the superhero film was released on Disney+. The actress earns bonuses when Black Widow reaches certain box office performance markers and she accuses Disney of not having the film exclusively in theaters because it “saw the opportunity to promote its flagship subscription service.”
 

Stout

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What, Disney acting all villainous and skeevy? I mean, they have major actions against them from dozens of prominent writers for...guess what? Breach of contract. Basically the Evil Empire thinks it's cool to commission work and then, ya know, never pay up. I hope she takes them to the cleaners.
 

BigRedRage

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seems a big violation to pay people based on incentives that you purposefully draw down and if the market changed so much that those incentives cannot be met due to something like a pandemic, revising the contract could have been permissible.
 
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Brian in Mesa

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Scarlett Johansson and Disney Settle ‘Black Widow’ Pay Lawsuit​


Scarlett Johansson and Disney have reached a settlement over her blockbuster lawsuit that accused the studio of sabotaging the theatrical release of “Black Widow” to prop up Disney Plus.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Johansson had sought a $50 million payout from the studio.

“I am happy to have resolved our differences with Disney,” Johansson said in a statement on Thursday. “I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve done together over the years and have greatly enjoyed my creative relationship with the team. I look forward to continuing our collaboration in years to come.”

Alan Bergman, the chairman of Disney Studios Content, said he, too, was pleased to have resolved the dispute.

“I’m very pleased that we have been able to come to a mutual agreement with Scarlett Johansson regarding ‘Black Widow,'” he said in a statement. “We appreciate her contributions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and look forward to working together on a number of upcoming projects, including Disney’s ‘Tower of Terror.'”
 
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