Earlier this morning it was reported that Scarlett Johansson was suing Disney for a breach of her contract. She believes that putting Black Widow on Disney+ with no exclusive theatrical release cost her a lot of money.
The Wall Street Journal reported, “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”.
If this is actually the case and her contract explicitly stated that there must be an exclusive theatrical release, then I see no way that Disney is on the right side here. However, if Johansson has earned a portion of the profits from Disney+ then that completely changes the narrative.
Later this afternoon Disney responded, by saying:
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 furthermore, 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.
This response from Disney is very peculiar and interesting to me. Initially, they simply said that there was no merit to the claim, which could have made this situation dealt with very easily.
However, Disney then decided to call her actions “sad and distressing” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fact that Disney even brings up the COVID-19 pandemic makes them look guilty in my eyes, as there was no need to add that to their response. If they truly breached Johansson’s contract, the COVID-19 pandemic is not an adequate excuse.
Since we still do not know full details of the situation, it will be interesting to see if Johansson has received any of the profits from Disney+. If she hasn’t, then it is unfair of Disney to call her lawsuit “sad and distressing” when she is potentially losing millions of dollars because they put the film on Disney+.
Finally, it would just be strange for Scarlett Johansson to burn all of her bridges with Disney immediately after her final film for no reason. She must have lost a magnitude of money for her to decide to pursue this lawsuit.
Let me know what you think of this whole situation in the comments! And as always…
CINEMA LOVERS UNITE!