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Scarlett Johansson Sues Disney Over ‘Black Widow’ Streaming Release

ManaByte

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Black Widow has a new enemy: the Walt Disney Co.
Scarlett Johansson, star of the latest Marvel movie “Black Widow,” filed a lawsuit Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court against Disney, alleging her contract was breached when the media giant released the film on its Disney+ streaming service at the same time as its theatrical debut.
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.

“Disney intentionally induced Marvel’s breach of the agreement, without justification, in order to prevent Ms. Johansson from realizing the full benefit of her bargain with Marvel,” the suit said.
Disney couldn’t be reached immediately for comment.
The suit could be a bellwether for the entertainment industry. Major media companies are prioritizing their streaming services in pursuit of growth, and are increasingly putting their high-value content on those platforms. Those changes have significant financial implications for actors and producers, who want to ensure that growth in streaming doesn’t come at their expense.
“This will surely not be the last case where Hollywood talent stands up to Disney and makes it clear that, whatever the company may pretend, it has a legal obligation to honor its contracts,” said John Berlinski, an attorney at Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP who represents Ms. Johansson.

According to the complaint, Ms. Johansson’s representatives sought to renegotiate her contract after learning of the dual-release strategy for “Black Widow,” which she has said is her ninth and last Marvel movie. Disney and Marvel were unresponsive, the suit said.
The decision to put the movie on Disney+ is projected to cost Ms. Johansson more than $50 million, a person familiar with details of her contract claimed.
Even before the pandemic, Ms. Johansson was concerned that “Black Window” could end up on Disney+ as part of its wide release. In 2019, Ms. Johansson’s representatives reached out to Marvel seeking assurance that “Black Widow” would have a theatrical-only release, according to the complaint.
In a March 2019 email included in the suit, Marvel Chief Counsel Dave Galluzzi said the release would be according to a traditional theatrical model, adding, “We understand that should the plan change, we would need to discuss this with you and come to an understanding as the deal is based on a series of (very large) box office bonuses.”

 

RiccochetJ

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Seems completely legitimate if they changed what was contractually agreed to. Although I'm suspicious about the amount she's asking for. A chunk people who paid to stream at home may not have necessarily been all that keen to go to a theater if that was the only option.
 

Javthusiast

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For real though. If it's a breach of contract then she has a case here and with her probably staying dead in the mcu forever she said fuck it, I am gonna burn that bridge and sue to get the most cash out of them that I can.

WB had at least the decency to pay Jenkins and Gal off when it came out on HBO Max and they were pissed.

 
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Nobody_Important

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If they broke the contract, then yeah you sue their ass. Doesn't matter what she got paid
Pretty much this. It wouldn't make sense to not sue if someone breaches a contract.


A deal is a deal. Doesn't matter if it's 10 thousand dollars or 10 million dollars.
 
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Enjay

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Seems completely legitimate if they changed what was contractually agreed to. Although I'm suspicious about the amount she's asking for. A chunk people who paid to stream at home may not have necessarily been all that keen to go to a theater if that was the only option.
Disney+ was also charging $30 extra to see it. The only thing she can really claim is that they provided pirates a clean copy of the movie to upload.
 
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Not sure it would have done better without a D+ release. Still, contract is the contract and is what Disney would do if someone changed the bargain. Seems money worth pursuing.
 

DKehoe

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From that it seems pretty clear that they broke the contract they had. I imagine they will settle since they will want to keep this kind of thing quiet and not set a precedent
 

Alebrije

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Well , in the movie she looks old for Black Widow role so she knew it was her last movie. On a few years she will be doing Expendables movies.

She has a point and if she can get money for it good for her...
 
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McCheese

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My god, she got 15 million dollars for Black Widow, 35 million for Avengers and is the highest paid actress in Hollywood.
What a greedy c*nt!

poor Disney having to eat scraps out of the bin like their mouse character just to survive, does anyone have a link to their gofundme?

She has every right, if they pull shit like this with the star imagine what shit they pull with the other actors and crew who cannot afford to lawyer up and defend their originally agreed contractual terms.
 
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EviLore

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Yep, acting is the most ridiculously overpaid occupation and the pay gap between them and the rest of the crew is outrageous.
What's the box office delta if you put another actress in the place of ScarJo for this film? -$100 million? -$200 million?

She's worth at least as much as she's being paid.
 

Punished Miku

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She is overpaid in terms of any common-sense measure of the amount of work she put in. But all major actors are.

But in terms of how many people show up for her, she's not overpaid. That's capitalism. You can take a wage from a boss, or you can ask 100 million people to give you a $1 each and see if you're popular enough.
 
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Dural

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What's the box office delta if you put another actress in the place of ScarJo for this film? -$100 million? -$200 million?

She's worth at least as much as she's being paid.

I don't know if you can actually quantify that, but superhero franchises have replaced actors countless times without hurting box office.

I was really just making a statement that the pay for an actor vs what they are actually doing and the skills required is so out of whack compared to damn near anything else on this planet. You see people complain about CEO pay all the time, but they are responsible for multi-billion dollar companies and thousands of jobs while an actor shows up for a few months and is pampered and pretends to be someone then goes home (and will likely complain about some CEOs pay). At least other entertainers like athletes and musicians have a skill.
 

NickFire

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If her compensation was based on box office receipts she may have a solid liability argument. I'm wondering about damages though. On the one hand, it seems obvious that Disney + cost her money. But on the other hand, what if they said screw it and launched in February? Could she have gotten even less without recourse if Disney did that? Interesting dispute for sure.

As an aside, I don't think calling her greedy is fair in this case considering who the defendant is, and what they charge to ride a few roller coasters.
 
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Lunarorbit

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For real though. If it's a breach of contract then she has a case here and with her probably staying dead in the mcu forever she said fuck it, I am gonna burn that bridge and sue to get the most cash out of them that I can.

WB had at least the decency to pay Jenkins and Gal off when it came out on HBO Max and they were pissed.

This is how I feel too. She's already mega rich but according to the article the decision to go streaming cost her $50 million. This is a good test for all the other actors though cause it seems like Disney breached their contract. Since she's dead she can say fuck it whereas Paul rudd for instance probably wouldn't say as much publicly if he got screwed cause ant man is still alvie
 

AmuroChan

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It was already, right? Why should she do them a favour?

She doesn't owe them any favor, but even though this is her last Marvel movie, this lawsuit is also going to ensure that she will never be hired by Disney or any Disney-owned studio again.
 

DKehoe

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She doesn't owe them any favor, but even though this is her last Marvel movie, this lawsuit is also going to ensure that she will never be hired by Disney or any Disney-owned studio again.
I'm sure she's really gonna struggle for work. If they really did cost her $50 million, or anything approaching that figure, why should she want to work with them again? It also might make them reconsider fucking over other people in the future.
 
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AmuroChan

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I'm sure she's really gonna struggle for work. If they really did cost her $50 million, or anything approaching that figure, why should she want to work with them again?

I didn't say she would struggle for work. I'm simply pointing out that she's not just ending her relationship with Marvel, but Disney proper as well. Any opportunities for royalties from future Black Widow merchandising, theme parks, games, etc she can likely kiss those goodbye.
 
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kiunchbb

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"Please social distance to stop COVID19!"

"Please risk spreading COVID and die so I get bigger cut in movie ticket sales"
 
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dorkimoe

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My god, she got 15 million dollars for Black Widow, 35 million for Avengers and is the highest paid actress in Hollywood.
What a greedy c*nt!
Disney has sued people for far far less. Fuck them, you dont sign a contract then back out of it. They would hold her to the same standards, dont act like they cant pay her what shes owed.
 

dorkimoe

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What a greedy egomaniac. Is she afraid a straight to video release is going to hurt her reputation as an actress or is it only about the money? There's a global pandemic. A lot of people don't want to go to a movie theater right now, some even can't due to vaccination requirements.
shes not telling people to go to theaters...but they cost her 50 million...fucking morons going to act like they would just shrug off 50 million