Why is Scarlett Johansson upset with Disney +?
(CNN Business) -
(CNN Business) -
One of Marvel's biggest stars sues Disney.
Actress Scarlett Johansson filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court Thursday alleging Disney violated her contract by releasing the highly anticipated superhero movie "Black Widow" on its streaming service, Disney +.
The film was released simultaneously on the streaming service and in theaters, which, according to the lawsuit, broke an agreement between the star and the company. The lawsuit alleges that Johansson agreed that his salary for the film would be based, in large part, on the film's box office.
"To maximize these revenues and therefore protect her financial interests, Ms. Johansson obtained a promise from Marvel that the release of the film would be a 'theatrical release,'" the lawsuit stated.
"As Ms. Johansson, Disney, Marvel, and just about everyone else in Hollywood know, a 'theatrical release' is an exclusive theatrical release. Disney was well aware of this promise, but nonetheless ordered Marvel to violate on their promise and instead, they released the film on the Disney + streaming service the same day it was released in theaters. "
Disney did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Wall Street Journal was the first to report the news.
The lawsuit comes at a crucial time for Hollywood, as the pandemic has accelerated several trends at once.
Streaming has become a Hollywood hot spot as movie theaters and the box office struggle to return to normal after a pandemic that devastated their business.
Viewership ratings for the Olympics opening ceremony plummeted, but streaming performed well
Disney caused a stir when it announced in March that "Black Widow" would launch on Disney + for an additional fee and in theaters simultaneously.
The film had been delayed several times due to the pandemic.
Originally, the launch was scheduled to be released in May 2020.
While other studios have streamed and released theatrical releases on the same day, the "Black Widow" news story stood out because Marvel is the most successful brand in all of Hollywood, grossing nearly $ 23 billion at the box office. worldwide since 2008.
Its release on July 9 was an immediate success for Disney, in theaters and broadcast, bringing in $ 80 million in its North American theatrical release and $ 60 million worldwide on Disney +.
Momentum for the film has since slowed and now stands at roughly $ 318 million worldwide, according to Comscore.
That's not a huge gross for a Marvel movie.
Other issues have emerged as studios shifted their top blockbusters to streaming as the pandemic continues. Case in point: Warner Bros. reportedly paid star Gal Gadot and director Patty Jenkins each more than $ 10 million when the studio released "Wonder Woman 1984" on the HBO Max streaming service, as well as in theaters in December. (WarnerMedia owns Warner Bros. and CNN.)
"It is no secret that Disney launches movies like Black Widow directly on Disney + to increase subscribers and thus boost the company's share price, and that it is hiding behind covid-19 as a pretext to do so," said John Berlinski, Johansson's attorney to CNN Business.
"But ignoring the contracts of the artists responsible for the success of their films to promote this myopic strategy violates their rights and we hope to prove it in court."
He added that this "surely will not be the last case in which Hollywood talent takes on Disney and makes it clear that, whatever the company wants, it has a legal obligation to fulfill its contracts."
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