Scarlett Johansson known for her role of Natasha Romanoff or Black Widow in MCU movies has charged the parent company of Marvel Studios, Disney, for breaching the tenures of her pact. The actor, whose latest standalone MCU movie Black Widow was premiered simultaneously in theatres and on Disney+’s PVOD service, Premier Access.
As reported by Wall Street Journal, a source personal to the actor alleged that the simultaneous online waiver led to a loss of $50 million to the actor.
Given below is the detailed information about the case:
1.What is the reason behind Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit?
As per the lawsuit, documented in Los Angeles Superior Court, the agreement that Johansson had ratified when she decided to feature in an origin Black Widow movie was breached when Disney agreed on a hybrid theatrical and streaming release model for the movie. The lawsuit further claims that Disney chose to use the movie and ScarJo’s star power to promote Disney+, its streaming service.
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2.Why did Disney choose a hybrid release for Black Widow?
The easy and perhaps reply to this would be, the studio has had fame with simultaneous releases before. Those who did not feel stable to venture out could pay for the movie and watch it from the convenience of their bed. And also, as the lawsuit asserts it was an easy way to boost Disney+ subscriptions and take on Netflix on its turf. Disney’s rival Warner Bros had before made waves in December 2020 by declaring that it’s every 2021 film will have a hybrid theatrical and HBO Max release. This also may have provoked Disney’s decision.
3.What is Disney’s response?
Disney’s reaction to the case has been surprisingly aggressive. It ignored it by confessing there is no “merit whatsoever to this filing. The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Disney has fully complied with Ms Johansson’s contract and the release of Black Widow on Disney+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date.”
4.How much money did Scarlett Johansson lose?
Tho the reports are not accurate but Disney’s message does say Scarlett’s salary from the box office was $20 million. This is likely not comprising the bonuses actors earns after a film’s popularity goes beyond intentions. Black Widow, however, after a huge global opening has calmed down extensively and has compiled $319.45 million after its July 9 release date. But ScarJo is stunned by the fact that Disney agreed to go with a limited release when not all theatres in the world and even North America are accessible due to the effect of Covid-19.
The Wall Street Journal reports that sources close to Johansson measure that the judgment to release the movie together on Disney Plus resulted in $50 million in lost bonuses.
“Why would Disney forgo hundreds of millions of dollars in box office receipts by releasing the Picture in theatres at a time when it knew the theatrical market was ‘weak,’ rather than waiting a few months for that market to recover? On information and belief, the decision to do so was made at least in part because Disney saw the opportunity to promote its flagship subscription service using the Picture and Ms Johansson, thereby attracting new paying monthly subscribers, retaining existing ones, and establishing Disney+ as a must-have service in an increasingly competitive marketplace,” says the lawsuit.
Still, Disney’s testimony, despite its hostile nature, does imply that Scarlett stood to gain more income on top of her earnings. The studio may have comprised the line just to reconcile the actor.
5.What is the significance of the lawsuit?
The lawsuit is not impeded to Scarlett or Disney. It involves the whole entertainment industry and the slow-progressing theatrical vs streaming war. Many popular filmmakers have conveyed suspicions that the theatrical model was not strong at first, and is now dying a slow, prevailing death due to the pandemic. After the WB’s judgment, Christopher Nolan, who has been with the studio for almost his entire career,
Other film producers are more traditionally-minded and select the theatrical model than surging, expressed distress at the decision.
6.Are there any upcoming Marvel movies that will go a similar route?
The forthcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will have a 45-day theatrical premier window, after which it will release in Disney+. Eternals and Spider-Man: No Way Home are also foreseen to follow the same model.