Disney has recently come under fire for botching their contract with Scarlett Johansson with release for her solo movie Black Widow.
In her contract, it stated that she was guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release included in her salary which was based on box office earnings. The problem is that even though Disney promised an exclusive theatrical release, meaning that the movie would only be released in theaters for two weeks, they aired the movie on Disney+ for premier access. When people purchase the movie on Disney+, Johansson receives none of the revenue consequentially losing her over $50 million from Disney+.
Senior Carlisle Myers comments, “As big as Disney is, I think that they should be capable of following a contract especially when the movie stars on of the biggest female actresses.”
“The movie’s theatrical performance fell in the subsequent days more sharply than most Marvel films.” The Wall Street Journal comments, “Some analysts and executives in Hollywood questioned whether making the movie easy to watch at home was hurting box-office results.”
While she did receive the same amount of money ($15 million) as Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth as they did for their solo movies (Captain America: Civil War and Thor: Ragnarok), the total gross was $500 million resulting at the end of the month, compared to Civil War which grossed over $1 billion.
According to the Scarlett Johansson’s suit, “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.”
There is some speculation that Disney cheated Johansson out of her contract on purpose. Disney has not made any negative comments such as backlashing her for suing them or critiquing. They only praised her for staring in the franchise and how her presence on screen brought the comic book character to life.
After three long months of court dates and online debating, in October, they settled by rewarding Johansson over $40 million. 60 million under her initial asking price. Johansson initially asked for $80 million plus the $20 million prior to the lawsuit which is her upfront pay.
After the settlement Johansson comments, “[she was] happy the differences with Disney were resolved [and looked] forward to continuing our collaboration in years to come.”
Publicly, she made nothing but nice comments about Disney and even foreshadowed that she might work with them in the future.
After the two sides came to an agreement, Alan Bergman, the content chairman for Disney Studios responds with nothing but positivity and well wishes to Scarlett Johansson.
Bergman states, “I’m very pleased that we have been able to come to a mutual agreement with Scarlett Johansson regarding Black Widow. We appreciate her contributions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and look forward to working together on a number of upcoming projects, including Disney’s Tower of Terror.”
Disney+ has become a lucrative streaming service for Disney and has made them millions on top of their box office revenue. It is no doubt that Disney needed more money and maybe they did not have an incentive to cheat Johansson out of her contract.
Disney+ has created a lot of issues with premiering their movies in the theaters and on Disney+. Emma Stone has also had a problem with Disney+ and might follow in Scarlett Johansson’s footsteps and sue Disney for the same problem Johansson had. Overall, Disney has kicked up their game regarding on streaming movies and allow viewers to watch either in the movie theater or the comfort of their home. Disney has adapted well to the new COVID environment, but there may be some loopholes that they will try and take to earn the biggest amount possible.