One of the stars of the Marvel Universe in cinema, Scarlett Johansson filed a lawsuit this Thursday (29) against Walt Disney Studios for breach of contract due to the simultaneous release of Black Widow (2021) in theaters and streaming. The actress claims that Mickey’s studio assured the premiere of the feature exclusively in the rooms, which did not happen.
According to the actress, a large part of her salary for the film would come from the final box office result, something common in agreements between Marvel and its stars. With the simultaneous debut on Disney+, Scarlett would have taken a loss in the final value.
“Why would Disney forgo hundreds of millions of dollars in box office receipts by releasing the film in theaters at a time when it knew the movie market was weak, instead of waiting a few months for the market to recover?” , says an excerpt of the process.
In the lawsuit, lawyers for Natasha Romanoff’s interpreter say some executives who orchestrated the hybrid launch strategy benefited from the ruling. Bob Chapek, Disney’s current CEO, reportedly received 3.8 times his base salary of $2.5 million (R$12.6 million), with the justification of a “Consumer Direct Firsts” bonus. “.
Chapek’s predecessor Bob Iger would also have benefited. According to the wording of the lawsuit, the now former CEO would have received $16.5 million in stock grants, with the company’s annual report citing Disney+’s growth.
“In short, the message to — and from Disney’s top management — was clear: increase the number of Disney+ subscribers, no matter what your contractual promises, and you’ll be rewarded,” follows the text of the lawsuit, initially released by The Wall Street Journal.
John Berlinski, Scarlett Johansson’s lawyer, said in a press release that he will prove Disney’s breach of contract in court and stressed that this will not be the last time a Hollywood star has gone to court to prove to the studio that it cannot be abused. these strategies without taking into account previously established agreements.
It’s no secret that Disney is releasing movies like Black Widow directly on Disney+ to boost subscribers and thus boost the company’s stock price — and that it’s hiding behind the Covid-19 crisis as an excuse to do so it. But ignoring the contracts of the artists responsible for the success of their films in favor of this short-sighted strategy violates their rights, and we hope to prove it in court. Of course, this won’t be the last case a Hollywood talent has faced Disney and will make it clear that no matter what the company may pretend, it has a legal obligation to honor its contracts.
Black Widow was released simultaneously in theaters and in Disney+ Premier Access, in which an additional R$69.60 is charged to subscribers who wanted to watch the film before officially entering the catalog. With the strategy, Mickey’s studio snapped up no less than US$ 60 million (R$ 304 million) with the streaming alone in its first weekend on display.