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

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Hollywood Reporter 21 August, 2021 - 09:15am 23 views

Black Widow Has Earned $125M on Disney+ Alone, Total Gross Nears $500M

Screen Rant 21 August, 2021 - 01:09pm

Prior to its release, Disney announced that Black Widow would be available on Disney+ Premier Access for $30. This move led Johansson to sue Disney over loss of backend profits that the actress would have received based on Black Widow's box performance. With the box office severely affected because of the ongoing pandemic, there's no telling how much Johansson could've earned if Black Widow had received a traditional theatrical release, but the actress claims losses of up to $50 million.

Now, new information about Black Widow's performance on Disney+ has been revealed. According to THR, the film earned $125 million from Disney+ rentals alone. Coupled with Black Widow's $367 million gross at the international box office, the film is just shy of the $500 million mark.

Still, the Disney+ performance of Black Widow brings into question if Feige will really stick to his promise that no other Marvel movies will hit the streamer. While Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will hit theaters exclusively (with a 45-day window before it hits streaming), the theatrical release of Eternals seems to be up in the air. As the Black Widow legal debacle continues to play out, how Disney moves forward with their future releases will be an ongoing point of speculation in the industry.

Scarlett Johansson Accuses Disney of ‘Trying to Hide Its Misconduct’ With ‘Black Widow’ Arbitration Demand

Screen Rant 21 August, 2021 - 11:21am

“After initially responding to this litigation with a misogynistic attack against Scarlett Johansson, Disney is now, predictably, trying to hide its misconduct in a confidential arbitration,” Johansson’s attorney John Berlinski said in a statement provided to TheWrap Saturday, in response to Disney’s Friday motion to compel arbitration.

“Why is Disney so afraid of litigating this case in public? Because it knows that Marvel’s promises to give ‘Black Widow’ a typical theatrical release ‘like its other films’ had everything to do with guaranteeing that Disney wouldn’t cannibalize box office receipts in order to boost Disney+ subscriptions. Yet that is exactly what happened – and we look forward to presenting the overwhelming evidence that proves it.”

A representative for Disney did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment Saturday.

Johansson’s lawsuit, which was filed July 29, claims her contract was worded around an exclusive theatrical release for “Black Widow” — which was released simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access on July 9 — and her compensation included significant bonuses based on the film’s box office grosses that insiders told the Wall Street Journal could add up to $50 million.

(Per Disney’s Friday filing, as of Aug. 15, “Black Widow” has “grossed more than $367 million in worldwide box-office receipts and more than $125 million in streaming and download retail receipts.”)

In Disney’s initial response, the company said the lawsuit had “no merit whatsoever” and called Johansson “callous” for asking for more than her upfront salary of $20 million.

According to a motion to move Johansson’s lawsuit to arbitration filed with the Los Angeles Superior Court by Disney’s attorneys on Friday, Johansson (referred to by her loan-out company’s name, Perwinkle, in the documents) “agreed that all claims ‘arising out of, in connection with, or relating to’ Scarlett Johansson’s acting services for ‘Black Widow’ would be submitted to confidential, binding arbitration in New York.”

Per the filing, “Whether Periwinkle’s claims against Disney fall within the scope of that agreement is not a close call: Periwinkle’s interference and inducement claims are premised on Periwinkle’s allegation that Marvel breached the contract’s requirement that any release of ‘Black Widow’ include a ‘wide theatrical release’ on ‘no less than 1,500 screens. The plain and expansive language of the arbitration agreement easily encompasses Periwinkle’s Complaint.”

Disney says that, “in a futile effort to evade this unavoidable result (and generate publicity through a public filing), Perwinkle excluded Marvel as a party to this lawsuit — substituting instead its parent company Disney under contract-interference theories. But longstanding principles do not permit such gamesmanship.”

According to the document, Johansson’s “two causes of action are entirely dependent on its untenable claim that Marvel breached” its contract with the actress “by releasing ‘Black Widow’ simultaneously in theaters and on Premier Access on Disney+. The contract does not mandate theatrical distribution — let alone require that any such distribution be exclusive.”

Disney’s attorneys state that Johansson’s “claim that Marvel breached the requirement that ‘Black Widow’ be released on ‘no less than 1,500 screens’ by releasing it on more than 30,000 screens is thus as indefensible as it sounds, as Disney and Marvel will demonstrate in arbitration.”

Read original story Scarlett Johansson Accuses Disney of ‘Trying to Hide Its Misconduct’ With ‘Black Widow’ Arbitration Demand At TheWrap

Disney has filed a motion to force Scarlett Johansson into a private arbitration to address whether she is owed millions from the hybrid release of “Black Widow.” In the motion, attorney Daniel Petrocelli also argues that Disney lived up to its obligation to give the film a “wide theatrical” release, but that nothing in the […]

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UPDATE, 8:44 AM: As anyone who has seen a Marvel movie or read the comics knows, the Black Widow moves fast and deadly – – and that’s exactly what Scarlett Johansson did this morning. “After initially responding to this litigation with a misogynistic attack against Scarlett Johansson, Disney is now, predictably, trying to hide its […]

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Disney to Force Scarlett Johansson's "Black Widow" Lawsuit to Private Arbitration - WDW News Today

wdwnt.com 21 August, 2021 - 09:52am

In the latest update on the ongoing lawsuit by Scarlett Johansson against Disney, the media conglomerate has filed a motion that would force the lawsuit into private arbitration.

Johansson alleges that Disney breached her contract for “Black Widow” by releasing the film simultaneously to Disney+ Premier Access and traditional theaters, thereby compromising her potential earnings. Disney rebutted publically, calling the lawsuit “sad” and disclosing that Johansson had already been paid $20 million.

Pushing the lawsuit into private arbitration would remove the proceedings from public scrutiny. Arbitration is a less formal legal process where both parties present their cases to a neutral third party, who then makes the decision.

Disney has reportedly cut all ties with Scarlett Johansson, including canceling the “Tower of Terror” film that the actress was set to produce and star in.

As always, keep following WDWNT for all of your Disney Parks news, and for the absolute latest, follow WDW News Today on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

There has been quite a bit of back-and-forth between Disney and Scarlett Johansson, who plays Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The star recently filed a lawsuit against Disney over her most recent outing as the super spy in this month’s “Black Widow." And after more than a…

Scarlett Johansson, who plays Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has recently filed a lawsuit against Disney over her most recent outing as the super spy in this month's "Black Widow," Variety reports. The lawsuit alleges that by releasing the film on Disney+ simultaneously with the theatrical release,…

Earlier, we reported that "Black Widow" star Scarlett Johansson had filed a lawsuit against Disney over the film's release. Disney has responded to the lawsuit publicly, according to Variety. The lawsuit alleges that by releasing the film on Disney+ simultaneously with the theatrical release, “Disney intentionally induced Marvel’s breach of…

Disney Seeks to Force Scarlett Johansson Suit to Arbitration

Variety 21 August, 2021 - 09:35am

By Gene Maddaus

Disney has filed a motion to force Scarlett Johansson into a private arbitration to address whether she is owed millions from the hybrid release of “Black Widow.”

In the motion, attorney Daniel Petrocelli also argues that Disney lived up to its obligation to give the film a “wide theatrical” release, but that nothing in the contract required the release to be exclusive to theaters.

Johansson filed a bombshell lawsuit on July 29, arguing that the decision to simultaneously release “Black Widow” in theaters and on Disney Plus cannibalized the film’s box office revenue and cost her tens of millions of dollars.

In the motion to compel arbitration, Petrocelli argued that “Black Widow” actually performed well, considering the ongoing pandemic. The film opened on July 9 and grossed $80 million domestically in its opening weekend — well below pre-pandemic Marvel standards, but $10 million more than Universal’s “F9” — which was an exclusive theatrical release.

Disney also notes that it agreed to add streaming receipts to the box office total for purposes of calculating Johansson’s backend participation, despite not being required under the contract to do so.

Johansson’s contract dates from 2017, two years before the debut of Disney Plus, so its terms do not contemplate a streaming release. Johansson’s lawyers have argued that Marvel’s general counsel affirmed in 2019 that the studio would release the film “like our other pictures.”

Johansson’s suit alleges that Marvel breached her contract, but it does not state a plain breach of contract claim. Instead, attorney John Berlinski filed suit against Disney, the parent company, alleging that Disney had interfered with the subsidiary’s contract with Johansson in order to boost Disney Plus.

“After initially responding to this litigation with a misogynistic attack against Scarlett Johansson, Disney is now, predictably, trying to hide its misconduct in a confidential arbitration,” Berlinski said in a statement to Variety. “Why is Disney so afraid of litigating this case in public? Because it knows that Marvel’s promises to give ‘Black Widow’ a typical theatrical release ‘like its other films’ had everything to do with guaranteeing that Disney wouldn’t cannibalize box office receipts in order to boost Disney Plus subscriptions. Yet that is exactly what happened — and we look forward to presenting the overwhelming evidence that proves it.”

Petrocelli’s motion calls that “gamesmanship,” and argues that Johansson agreed to arbitrate all claims “arising out of, in connection with, or relating to” her contract with Marvel.

“Whether Periwinkle’s claims against Disney fall within the scope of that agreement is not a close call,” Petrocelli argues. “The plain and expansive language of the arbitration agreement easily encompasses Periwinkle’s Complaint.”

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