Why is Scarlett suing Disney?
After the release of Marvel's Black Widow, Johansson sued the studio's parent company, claiming that her contract was breached when the film was made available on Disney+'s Premium Access tier the same day it hit theaters. Hollywood ReporterElizabeth Olsen Praises Scarlett Johansson for Being “Tough” Amid Disney Lawsuit
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Olsen (who is currently starring in Marvel’s WandaVision series on Disney+) said that Johansson was “so tough” and “when I read [about the legal action] I was like, ‘good for you Scarlett’”. She added that “when it comes to actors and their earnings, I mean, that’s just, that’s just all contracts. So it’s either in the contract or it’s not.”
Johansson launched legal action against Disney in July, alleging that the studio breached her contract by making Black Widow available on its streaming service Disney+ at the same time as its cinema release. The suit claims that Johansson’s payment is linked to the film’s box office performance, and that Disney’s decision to opt for a “hybrid” release resulted in a lower fee than had been anticipated.
Disney denies it breached the agreement with Johansson, saying that her contract did not guarantee an “exclusive theatrical release”. Reports suggest that Johansson’s lawyers tried to renegotiate the contract after the release strategy was changed as a result of the Covid-related shutdown of cinemas.
Olsen’s fellow actor Jason Sudeikis, co-creator and star of streaming series Ted Lasso, also expressed his admiration for Johansson in the same interview, saying “it is appropriately bad-ass and on brand”.
Read full article at Gizmodo
24 August, 2021 - 06:40pm
Disney wants to settle the matter privately — Johansson’s lawyers do not
Disney’s lawyers filed the motion Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court on the grounds that Periwinkle Entertainment, which negotiated her deal, agreed that any claims related to her role in the Marvel film would be handled in confidential arbitration. But the motion also took several swipes at Johansson’s complaint that argued Marvel, compelled by its parent company Disney, breached an agreement when Black Widow debuted on Disney Plus through Premier Access the same day that it premiered in theaters. The Hollywood Reporter earlier reported the motion.
Johansson’s complaint argued that the film’s hybrid release cut into her potential earnings, as a simultaneous streaming release hampered the film’s box office permanence and therefore impacted her bonuses. At issue is whether the film should have debuted as a theatrical exclusive. But according to Disney’s motion, Periwinkle’s contract with Marvel “does not mandate theatrical distribution — let alone require that any such distribution be exclusive.”
Furthermore, the motion states, the contract stated that any theatrical obligations would be met with showings on “no less than 1,500 screens.” The motion stated the film in fact debuted on more than 9,600 scenes in the US and 30,000-plus screens worldwide. Additionally, Disney’s lawyers also took issue with Johansson’s claim that she’d lost earnings under the hybrid release model — though it’s still unclear what specifically was promised.
Echoing comments made by Disney boss Bob Chapek during the company’s most recent earnings call, the motion stated that the “hybrid release pattern was the best thing” for Black Widow as well as everyone attached to it.
Disney also provided updated figures on Black Window’s performance, showing that it’s continued to bring in big figures at both the box office and through early access rentals. As of August 15th, Black Widow has raked in more than $367 million in box office receipts worldwide and more than $125 million in streaming and download receipts, the motion stated, offering seldom-shared figures about the success of a hybrid release in both theaters as well as on a streaming service itself. Accounting for the $55 million the film pulled in on Premier Access and the $80 million in domestic box office receipts during its opening weekend, Black Widow’s numbers surpassed the opening weekend figures of other Marvel films released pre-pandemic, the company argued, including Ant-Man and the Wasp and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Disney’s lawyers revealed in the motion that it served Periwinkle a demand for private arbitration on August 10th, a little over a week after Johansson’s initial complaint was filed. The motion stated Periwinkle had yet to respond. Disney also reiterated its previous position that the complaint had “no merit.”
Johansson’s lawyers could not immediately be reached for comment. However, in a statement cited by The Hollywood Reporter, her attorney John Berlinski said that Disney “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.”
In response to the initial complaint in late July, Disney said there was “no merit whatsoever to this filing.” The company also characterized the suit as “especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” adding that Johansson had earned $20 million to date.
A number of organizations in the entertainment industry organizations — including Women in Film, ReFrame, and Time’s Up — have criticized Disney’s response to the lawsuit, saying the “gendered character attack has no place in a business dispute and contributes to an environment in which women and girls are perceived as less able than men to protect their own interests without facing ad hominem criticism.” Last week, fellow Marvel Cinematic Universe star Elizabeth Olsen also spoke out in support of Johansson in an interview with Vanity Fair.
“I think she’s so tough and literally when I read that I was like, ‘good for you Scarlett,’” Olsen said.
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Scarlett Johansson's Lawyer Calls Disney's Response To 'Black Widow' Lawsuit A 'Misogynistic Attack'
24 August, 2021 - 06:40pm
It isn’t quite dominating the headlines to the extent it was a few weeks back, but the battle between Scarlett Johansson and Disney over her Black Widow lawsuit is still bubbling away in the background. It’s devolved into schoolyard name-calling in some respects, with the Mouse House’s representatives at various points blasting the actress for being greedy and calling her legal action a PR stunt.
Nobody’s obligated to publicly pick sides in situations like these, but Dune director Denis Villenueve fully backed the longtime Natasha Romanoff, which isn’t much of a surprise when he’s been highly critical of Warner Bros. sending the entire slate of 2021 movies to HBO Max the same day they hit theaters.
Elizabeth Olsen is the latest high profile name to offer her support to Johansson, answering with a simple “good for her” when asked for her thoughts on the Black Widow debacle. As you can see from the reactions below, though, some Marvel Cinematic Universe fans are worried that there could end up being repercussions for the star.
Since Elizabeth Olsen is now supporting Scarlett Johansson in her Disney suit, me thinks Wanda will be either killed off on Doctor Strange 2 or have some body exchange spell. If the latter, cast Alicia Vikander.
Disney's about to blacklist Elizabeth Olsen now https://t.co/mlG99pjItg
Elizabeth Olsen supports Scarlett Johansson in suing Disney. This is me if Wanda dies in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness pic.twitter.com/DSp1wuqGVh
At the end of the day, Olsen is under contract with Marvel Studios and not Disney, similar to Johansson, and the latter has no issues with Kevin Feige or his team when it was the outfit’s parent company that made the Premier Access call. Besides, Scarlet Witch is established as the franchise’s most powerful character and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is just seven months away from release, so it’s probably safe to assume the Emmy nominated WandaVision lead will be just fine.