Disney strikes back after Scarlett Johansson complaint

Scarlett Johansson, the actress who lends her features to Black Widow, accuses Disney of not having respected the clauses of its counterpart by releasing the film on Disney +. In order to avoid a public trial, the American studio proposed to the actress to settle the matter in private.

At the end of July, Scarlett Johansson, the interpreter of Black Widow, filed a complaint against Disney. The actress accuses the American studio of not having respected the clauses of his contract. According to the actress’s lawyers, the contract clearly stipulated that the film was to be released in theaters.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Disney has indeed opted for a simultaneous release on the Disney + platform and in dark rooms. In France, the film is only available at the cinema. It is a French specificity. In most countries, Disney + subscribers can view the feature film through Premier Access at an additional cost.

Scarlett Johansson receives support from WandaVision star Elizabeth Olsen

Scarlett Johansson believes that this strategy deprived her of part of her income. The Danish-American actress was indeed to touch part of the receipts from cinema tickets. In the complaint filed, the lawyers estimate this damage to the tune of $ 50 million. The simultaneous release on Disney + also heavily weighed down the box office of the Marvel film, causing an increase in piracy. The film recorded a record drop in attendance (67%) in its second week of operation. On its second weekend in theaters in the United States, the film only grossed $ 26.3 million.

Many Hollywood stars quickly expressed their support for the Black Widow performer. This is particularly the case of Elizabeth olsen, star of WandaVision and performer of Wanda Maximoff. “I worry about a lot of things. I don’t worry about Scarlett. But I’m afraid that small films will lose the opportunity to be seen in the cinema (…). I’m worried about that, and the people who have to keep these theaters alive. And I don’t know how it works, financially, for them. But when it comes to the actors and their salaries, really, it’s all about contracts. So either it’s in the contract or it’s not ”, said Elizabeth Olsen.

Disney fights back and ensures the deal has been honored

Faced with the outcry caused by the complaint, Disney quickly counterattacked through a press release. “The complaint is particularly sad and trying because it ignores the horrific and prolonged global impact of the Covid-19 pandemic (…). In addition, the release of Black Widow on Disney + with premium access allowed it to significantly increase her additional compensation, in addition to the 20 million dollars she has received to date ”, regretted Disney, revealing without his consent the salary of the actress.

More recently, Disney has attempted to play the conciliation card in order toavoid public debate. The studio wants to settle the case out of court. However, the group continues to believe that Scarlett Johansson’s complaint is unfounded. Daniel Petrocelli, one of Disney’s lawyers, assures us that the contract does not stipulate that the theatrical release should be exclusive.

The 36-year-old actress’ contract only forced Disney to broadcast the film in 1,500 theaters. According to the company, this part of the agreement has been honored. Black Widow has been shown in 9,600 theaters in the United States and in 30,000 theaters around the world.

Disney ensures that the interpreter of the Black Widow has not lost in the change with the release on Disney +. As of August 15, Black Widow has generated over $ 367 million in box office revenue. On Disney +, Marvel movie made over $ 125 million. De facto, the feature film generated more profit than most Marvel Studios films released only in theaters.

Scarlett Johansson’s attorney, John Berlinski, quickly stepped up to denounce the Major’s request for private arbitration. “Disney is now predictably trying to cover up its misconduct with confidential arbitration”, regrets Berlinski, assuring that theWalt Disney studio is afraid to close the deal in front of the public. In short, the case is far from over. On our side, we imagine that Disney is especially afraid that the example of Johansson inspires other actors.

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