Disney anticipates readjustment in contracts after Scarlett Johansson lawsuit


The COVID-19 pandemic came to change the rules of the game. Due to its negative effects on film display, it is impossible for large studios to stick to certain original distribution plans. Now, a movie intended for the big screen can end up directly on a digital platform, under the assumption that it is good for the business. However, these last minute modifications are not without controversy and litigation. Suffice it to remember that Scarlett Johansson sued Disney for hitting Black widow a simultaneous release in cinemas and streaming. But the House of the Mouse would seek to prevent just that kind of conflict through a readjustment in talent contracts.

Bob chapekCEO of The Walt Disney Company, spoke this week about the contractual readjustments that must be implemented in the face of changes in the film exhibition windows, accelerated by the health crisis. He spoke about how the agreements of “three or four years ago” sadly do not respond to the current delicate circumstances.

“We have an agreement that was conceived under a certain set of conditions and that actually resulted in a film being released under completely different conditions, so there is a little realignment going on right now,” the executive noted during a recent conference with investors (via).

And I add:

“Right now, we have a kind of middle position where we are trying to do well with talent. I think talent is trying to do well with us, and we are just figuring out how to close the gap.

Chapek would be anticipating that the coming pacts between the company and the talent should clarify, for example, how the compensation issue will be handled if a certain film is forced to premiere in an alternative modality. That is, what type or percentage of earnings will an actress or star actor receive if their feature film premieres in streaming and not exclusively in cinemas.

In the same conference, the executive assured that talent continues to be the “most important asset” of the company. It also guaranteed that the compensations will continue to be granted “in a fair manner, according to the terms of the contracts they agreed with us.”

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Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit against Disney was filed in late July 2021. Her lawyers argued that by releasing Black widow simultaneously in cinemas and on the platform of streaming Disney Plus, TWDC worsened its box office performance. And consequently, it harmed the bonuses that would have accrued to the actor if the film had only been released in theaters.

A month ago, the company asserted that an exclusive theatrical release was never agreed for that MCU film. Apparently, the contract with Johansson stated – without addressing the issue of streaming– that only a minimum of screens had to be met in the United States. Come on here to read the full note.

The entry Disney anticipates readjustment in contracts, after Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit was first published in Cinema PREMIERE.


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