Scarlett Johansson sued Disney for breach of contract over Black Widow’s release

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Black Widow was released on July 9th. That was the day the film premiered in movie theaters around America. Disney – which owns Marvel – decided to do the pandemic option for Black Widow, meaning that if people wanted to pay the extra $29.99 for Premiere Access on top of their Disney Plus subscription, they could watch Black Widow from the comfort of their homes (or phones, or whatever). While Black Widow premiered at #1 at the box office, the weeks-long box office thus far has been a lot lower than predicted for a Marvel movie with a beloved franchise star. As of this writing, BW has made $157 million domestically and $160 million internationally. No slouch, but Marvel is used to crossing $500 million for any and all movies, and Marvel films regularly cross $600-700 million or more. They were clearly testing out the streaming option, given that there are many people who don’t feel comfortable returning to movie theaters. But! That means that Marvel and Disney were actually in breach of Scarlett Johansson’s contract. And she’s suing them.

Disney’s decision to release “Black Widow” on Disney Plus at the same time it hit theaters has sparked a legal battle with Scarlett Johansson, the actress tasked with playing the Marvel superhero. In a lawsuit filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, attorneys for Johansson allege that the star’s contract was breached when the studio opted not to debut the film exclusively in theaters, a move they claim depressed ticket sales for the Avengers spinoff. Much of Johansson’s compensation was tied to the box office performance of “Black Widow” — if it hit certain benchmarks, bonuses would kick in.

“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 reads.

Shortly after Black Widow’s debut, the National Association of Theatre Owners, the industry’s main trade organization, asserted the simultaneous release of “Black Widow” in theaters and on streaming “costs Disney money in revenue per viewer over the life of the film.” However, the suit notes that Disney’s stock rose after the company disclosed the rental figures.

“Disney chose to placate Wall Street investors and pad its bottom line, rather than allow its subsidiary Marvel to comply with the agreement,” the suit reads. “To no one’s surprise, Disney’s breach of the Agreement successfully pulled millions of fans away from the theatres and toward its Disney+ streaming service.”

The Wall Street Journal, which broke the news of the lawsuit, reports that sources close to Johansson estimate that the decision to release the film concurrently on Disney Plus resulted in $50 million in lost bonuses…. If successful, Johansson’s suit could embolden more actors to seek additional compensation for films that migrated to streaming services and may lead to agents including stricter language in contracts regarding compensation if an exclusive theatrical release is compromised or bypassed. Johansson’s attorneys suggested that her suit could be a precedent setter.

“It’s no secret that Disney is releasing films like Black Widow directly onto Disney Plus to increase subscribers and thereby boost the company’s stock price – and that it’s hiding behind Covid-19 as a pretext to do so,” John Berlinski, an attorney for Johansson, said in a statement to Variety. “But ignoring the contracts of the artists responsible for the success of its films in furtherance of this short-sighted strategy violates their rights and we look forward to proving as much in court. 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.”

[From Variety]

There’s a lot going on and Scarlett is actually making a good point with her lawsuit, and she’s not thinking of merely her own bottom line. It would be one thing if her sole argument was that she was being cheated out of backend bonuses. Her lawsuit makes the point that Disney not only cheated her out of her backend bonus, they did it to add even more subscribers to Disney’s streaming services. Disney is making money off of her, Disney’s stockholders are making money off of her, so why isn’t she getting paid? It’s a good point.

Included in the lawsuit: emails to and from Scarlett, her management and Marvel where she shared her concerns for months that Marvel and Disney would screw up the theatrical release by releasing the film on their streaming service. She has receipts! And she has a point. A point which is easier for her to make considering she’s completely fulfilled her Marvel contract. Scarlett-as-BW is done, she’s not under contract to make any more movies with the studio. Which makes it easier for her to burn that bridge with this lawsuit, which (make no mistake) is exactly what she’s doing.

Hours after the news of Scarlett’s lawsuit came out, Disney finally released a statement and whew, boy. Disney’s statement: “There is no merit whatsoever to this filing. The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Disney has fully complied with Ms. Johansson’s contract and furthermore, the release of ‘Black Widow’ on Disney+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20 [million] she has received to date.” LMAO, that was so harsh. They really said ScarJo doesn’t care about people dying from Covid!!!

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Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Avalon Red and Marvel.

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182 Responses to “Scarlett Johansson sued Disney for breach of contract over Black Widow’s release”

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  1. MCV says:

    If Disney comes for someone as big as Scarlett like this imagine what they do to others omg

    • megs283 says:

      Yup. I love that Scarlett is taking the hit on this. She’s doing it for future stars who won’t have the clout to speak up, or the money to fall back on when they’re retaliated against.

    • Moxylady says:

      Scarlett you are in danger. But good on you for speaking up. Funny how they did this to the female super hero movie…. 👀

    • Amy T says:

      The only time I was ever late with rent in my struggling single mother days was Disney. O was writing for one of their magazines (Family Fun) at $500 a pop. The contract was odious (work for hire, galactic rights) but I needed the scratch. It took them from April to November to pay the $2,500 they owed me. I hope Scarlett cleans their clocks.

      • StormsMama says:

        The tried to steal Mighty Ducks from Steve Brill. Named a real hockey franchise after HIS movie/idea/concept.
        He was in court with them for 10 years. They nearly bankrupted him but more than that they tried to destroy him. If it weren’t for his buddies Adam Sandler and crew sticking by him, he would’ve been just another poor schmuck who got played.
        Of course he did beat Disney in court. And he got PAID. And now there is a new mighty duck series and he is still getting paid.

        Disney is no joke and I applaud ScarJo for going for what is rightfully hers- if her contracts state there should be exclusive theatrical release etc then yes she deserves her fair share.

    • Lady Luna says:

      Exactly! They make 10 billion dollars a year and they want to stiff her? I don’t care for her, but regardless of who it is, they’re completely wrong. I hope she doesn’t settle and gets her money.

    • Christine says:

      I took my son to see Black Widow in the theater today, just because of how Disney is trying to screw ScarJo. The movie has been out for so long, it was the the two of us, and two other families in the entire theater. They wouldn’t have screwed with RDJ or Chris Hemsworth this way, this is straight up what women have to deal with, and it sucks.

  2. Becks1 says:

    I saw something about this last night that said the contract specifically included a clause that the movie would NOT be released simultaneously on streaming, but not sure if that was accurate (I think it was from Scary Mommy lol.) If so, then it seems clear that Disney/Marvel are in the wrong, but that would be a huge contract violation on their part and I’m not sure their lawyers are that bad at their jobs, you know?

    from reading this though, it sounds like the issue more is that the simultaneous release depressed the box office numbers and Scarlett doesn’t get a cut of the premier access money. So Disney may not have violated the specific terms of the contract, but they certainly violated the spirit of the contract, especially considering that her BW contract was signed years ago (I’m assuming) and well before this whole idea of “premier access” was a thing.

    It will be interesting to see how all this shakes out. I give Scarlett credit for bringing a lawsuit against a company like Disney.

    • KissMyA**23 says:

      While I can’t stand Disney… I think Scarlett is only doing this because she cares about money she’s missing out on. Idk… if I had her job I probably would be mad too… but all these actors/actresses complaining about money when they make $20 million a picture piss me off. Yes, I think Disney should do the right thing. But… she has the dream job, that tons of people would kill to have, and complaining about $50 million that she possibly didn’t get (which depending on how it did on Disney+, maybe good, maybe not so good). I just want to tell her to shut up. Be happy with what you have! If you file a lawsuit like this, you look super greedy. Maybe she’ll notice that and donate the money (if she wins) to charity or something. I understand both sides and just don’t like it. In my opinion both parties suck. Disney is in the wrong but Scarjo…. ugh she annoys me.

      Does anyone know for sure how well it did on streaming?

      • questions says:

        If I was owed $50 million I’d want it. It would be bad business to overlook what I’m owed through the contract.

      • Fortuona says:

        How did you get $50 m ? There was no guessing how many people would go see it

      • Delilah says:

        Wow. You want her to settle for a lot less than she is worth? I get where we’d all be lucky to have just a pittance of her earnings but what about the principle? If you let anyone or any entity walk all over you that’s just the beginning. Of screwing you over and others in the same class. I applaud her! She’s fighting for her rights. Mazel Tov.

      • LovesitinNM says:

        My problem with your reasoning is the huge wealth disparity between men and women. Why should she just let it go? Why shouldn’t they just let it go and negotiate with her what she thinks is fair? We are not treated as equals unless we fight for it. It’s just reality. Yes I would prefer she have that money.

      • North of Boston says:

        Contracts don’t care whether the 2 parties like each other or annoy other people. Contracts don’t care whether one or both parties stand to make $50 or $50 million, whether one party is or isn’t being paid what they are worth in other arenas.

        Contracts are created so that people, companies, organizations can spell out what they’ve agreed to do, under what conditions and what they will receive in return. When a performer agrees to take some of their compensation in the form of a back end of revenue or front end of ticket sales, they are taking a risk, banking on the project being successful and knowing they won’t make as much if it isn’t. And they often forgo defined amounts of cold hard cash when they have those kind of profit sharing clauses.

        Disney shifting revenue, profits from BW from one of their business units/channels to another, and bypassing a profit clause they agreed to is wrong, and likely a violation of the contract, and good on Scar Jo for holding their feet to the fire.

        Studios, media companies are notorious for playing these games and many actors have had to resort to hiring lawyers and forensic accountants to get paid what their employment contracts specified. But usually it’s only the ones who can afford to take the hit who can do it, since the media companies can afford a sea of lawyers and delay tactics.

  3. cassandra says:

    I’m wondering if they’ll settle to avoid setting a precedent.

    Those Marvel backend deals can be incredibly lucrative. RDJ is set for like 100 lifetimes because of how well the Ironman franchise did.

    Not ScarJo’s biggest fan, but I do believe she is in the right here and should get her money.

    eta: I also don’t doubt this is playing out the way she says it is. Marvel is CHEAP

    • Pinellas Pixie says:

      They would be wise to settle and then do the right thing by everyone else. I just read that Emma Stone is considering a lawsuit bc they did the same to her with Cruella.

    • LovesitinNM says:

      I think she is in the right as well. They could have tried a mediation in light of the pandemic conditions and attempted to renegotiate her contract. They didn’t do that. They thought they can get away with saying oh well you don’t get bonuses from the box office and if you fight us we will smear you and say you don’t care about covid deaths. It’s very smarmy behavior. I hope she wins!

      • Ellyn says:

        If this had been a movie headlined by any of the male leads (Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans) or the second tier stars (Ruffalo, Renner, Rudd), would Disney have failed to work things out ahead of the film’s release? Why should Johansson feel like she should have headlined a Disney+ mini series in order to get paid what she was owed? Get Captain Marvel and some Dora Milaje to back you up, Black Widow!

  4. Jezz says:

    I’m certainly not going to be the only person to say this, but 20 mil is a lot of money. Maybe… enough?

    • Who ARE these people? says:

      That argument is used to prevent equal pay especially for women and people in other underpaid groups. It’s used to distract us from the real issue. Disney s response has no substance. It’s one red herring after another. They will need to make their case in court or settle out of court.

      • Maddie says:

        Thank you!
        And that’s exactly why Disney included that number in their statement. They’re counting on people telling Scarlett that she should be ok with what she got.

      • Heather H says:

        exactly this!

      • LovesitinNM says:

        Exactly! She knew her worth and for sure paid her agent and whoever else to work to get her the best contract. Now she should roll over and take her licks because they didn’t abide by the contract?! No way! Go get em.

    • wow says:

      so freaking Disney should keep the money?

    • Steph says:

      I’m going to have to disagree with you here. $20m is a lot of money but she was set to make more and has a right to what she has earned.

    • Becks1 says:

      Remember when 20 million for a movie was such a milestone salary and now it seems almost commonplace?

      Anyway, the issue is the potential lost earnings from Disney putting it on premier access. Yes she got 20 million (I’m assuming from a combo of salary and box office earnings thus far), but if she could have gotten 50 million if it was released only in the theaters? Why should she be happy with the 20 million?

    • NCWoman says:

      Until Disney starts refunding fans because they’ve made “enough” money, I don’t see how this applies. It’s a multibillion dollar corporation padding their own bottom line. If they’ll screw her over, no one else has a shot. Even if all the theme park characters unionize and get paid a living wage, there will be no way to hold Disney to their contract. The question is: Can Disney do what they want without regard for the people who do the work? She offered to renegotiate prior to the film’s release. They ignored her because they think no one will stop them,

    • Mel says:

      I WOULD agree, in the general sense that one can have TOO MUCH money BUT in this case, Disney and Marvel are being cheap AF and made a HUGE amount of money off of her, and had it been RDJ, they would have bent over backwards to give him a good compensation.
      Their statement is so obvious and cynical, given that apparently they used the streaming membership numbers to appease the stockholders. I actually think, they would have been better off saying, “business is business” because they are trying to pretend that THEY care about people’s health, which, sure, Jan! She might be paving the way for people with less power than she has to stop the mouse from constantly screwing over the “little people” (not talking about Scarjo but how many people have we never heard about that have been profited from and discarded?)
      There’s a giant misogynistic component here, especially with how much they dragged their feet to make a BW movie!
      I personally liked it but Marvel, with their plans all the way to 2037, couldn’t release the movie in the correct timeframe? Really?
      It’s not about COVID, it should have been released way sooner to make sense!
      I say she’s right to go after them! Enough with women being silent and accepting breadcrumbs!

    • pj says:

      Disney is worth billions. I mean, if you’re talking how much is “enough”…

      • Dena Landon says:

        I found Disney’s statement gross and distasteful. They included her base salary to make her look greedy and it’s pretty obvious. And the lawsuit has broader implications – Disney is currently in violation of a LOT of writing contacts at the moment. They’re refusing to pay royalties to authors of past works they acquire, saying that the acquisition voided those contacts (that’s not how contracts work, but they’re trying). So the authors of Star Wars franchise books aren’t getting paid while Disney still sells their books. These aren’t $20m paycheck movie stars, they’re writers and many of them depend on those royalties to pay their bills.
        So if ScarJo (whom I can’t stand) wins this case, it sets a really good precedent for a lot of smaller, less-powerful people. Which is why I think Disney will settle.

    • Ainsley7 says:

      I’d agree if the rest of the money owed to her was going to people who actually need it. Instead, it’s going to other million/billionaires who don’t need it either. So, no, she shouldn’t just accept the 20 mill and be grateful while people even richer than her line their pockets with her money.

    • SarahCS says:

      The amount is irrelevant, she’s a big star and they are ignoring the contract they signed with her while also putting out an incredibly manipulative statement. I rarely have much to say about her that’s positive but I am 100% behind her on this. Women are always pushed around more than men to their cost.

    • Merricat says:

      So why is it “enough” for her, but not “enough” for Disney? Pffft.

    • DuchessL says:

      I couldn’t disagree more. What should have been done was agreed upon and signed. Black on white. Everybody knew what they has to do ans someone didn’t do it pandemic or not. I dont like Scarlett and her bitch vibe/bitch face, but what is hers is hers. I hope she wins this case.

    • teacakes says:

      That argument and the ‘ScarJo doesn’t care about COVID!’ one coming from Disney, a company that opened up its theme parks last year while Americans were dying in the thousands with no vaccine?

    • Alexandria says:

      She worked for it and fulfilled her share. She should get paid. I’ll defend her rights especially when females tend to be underpaid. She’s still a horrible person.

    • questions says:

      But she signed a contract. They should honour it.

    • Sue M says:

      So it’s ok for Disney to get the money, but not OK for ScarJo to get the money? Really?

      • Fortuona says:

        But Disney is not getting money from it are they ? It is not making any money at this point in time and they are lucky to be getting their costs back

      • Courtney B says:

        Disney ironically hurt their bottom line with the move because the same day streaming was a godsend for pirating. They got a glorious high def copy. That’s going to kill them.

  5. Sofia says:

    If her salary was dependent on the box office and Disney cut into that by releasing it onto Disney+ (which they had to have known was going to happen) and then not giving her a slice of the streaming profits to make up what she was going to get AND they refuse to negotiate her contract after several attempts of contact then yeah I can see why she’s pissed and why she’s suing. Her character was an original avenger, she’s been there from virtually the beginning and for almost a decade so I can see even more why she wants to be appropriately compensated.

    But that statement from Disney is really aggressive. You would think they would go the “This is a miscommunication. We love Scarlett and want to solve this amicably” but they didn’t. And since her character is dead and she’s 35+ (nothing wrong with that but you know how Hollywood treats women after a certain age), Disney doesn’t care about her either and is just as willing to burn bridges with her. Scarlett will never work for Disney let alone Marvel ever again but she’ll still get work. That being said, I do hope she’s appropriately compensated

    • Sigmund says:

      Actually, she was already contracted to do the Tower of Terror movie with Disney before this. Makes you wonder if it will still happen.

      • Sofia says:

        Yeah I don’t think that’s going to be happening now. They might make the movie if Disney considers it to expensive to get her out of it but that’ll be the last thing they ever do with her

  6. Oliphant says:

    Would disney bother to hide behind covid though? I mean, releasing it into cinemas would have made it more money? And cinemas were closed in many areas due to
    Covid? Or was it released when everywhere was back open? If they’ve not fulfilled their signed contracts though she will have a case. LOL’ed at Disney’s response, SJ probably thinks she’s some kind of hero now *rolls eyes*

    Probably would feel more sympathetic for SJ
    if she wasn’t such a woody Allen supporting wilfully ignorant POS. Who is also a terrible actor- makes me said to think what someone like Emily blunt, gugu mbatha-Raw, Gemma Chan or Ruth wilson could have done with the black widow role. If they’re cheating her out of money she deserves though she should absolutely get what she has earnt, Disney have more than enough money to fulfill their obligations.

    • Becks1 says:

      So, they’re not hiding behind COVID so much as using it as their defense and honestly its not a bad defense. Scarlett is saying that because of the release to premier access*, the movie did not do as well at the box office as it would have otherwise and thus her earnings are depleted. But Disney is going to say “well it was a pandemic, so many movie theaters weren’t open, and attendance is down overall anyway because of the pandemic, so you can’t prove how much you would have made.” Like if this movie had opened summer 2019 with premier access, her case would have been much more cut and dry IMO, because you could use every other marvel movie released to that point to make an argument about how it would have done at the box office without premier access. But this is trickier because Disney is going to say, you dont know that those people would have gone to see the movie in the theater anyway because of the pandemic and PA didn’t take anything away from the box office returns. She can point to movies like Fast umpteen but Disney can say different audience, different franchise, maybe this movie was NEVER going to be as successful as other Marvel movies because it’s about a character who is now dead (which was their fault for the release order but anyway).

      I am interested to see how Disney reacts to this going forward – if they will settle quietly and quickly to give her some of the PA money or if they push back and take this to court (where it could drag out for years.) I can see Disney going either way.

      *My guess is they are also making an argument for her to get part of the PA money, but I haven’t read the filings.

      • Becks1 says:

        And to be clear I’m not saying i agree with that defense from Disney. Just that I don’t think its necessarily a bad defense, legally. That’s why they came out swinging with the bit about COVID.

      • Oliphant says:

        Ah I see, thanks becks1 that makes it a bit clearer, seems like the easiest option for both sides would be to settle, but who knows with Disney!

      • superashes says:

        I think its a bad defense. If you are sued for breach of contract and your first response is to publicly try to shame someone for filing it because of the pandemic, and then to try to suggest you can’t prove how badly you were damaged because of the pandemic, you 100% breached that contract.

      • Soupie says:

        They can’t use something like a pandemic for a defense. They should have included language to that effect in the contract but they didn’t, so screw ‘em.

        I would love to see this go to trial (I love courtroom drama) but it won’t.

    • Yati says:

      her team thinking she deserves the additional 50 mil is ridiculous considering this film was not as highly anticipated as the other avenger films. Even with a sole theater distribution it wouldn’t have made that much more off ticket sales. I do think they need to honor their contract and pay her what’s fair not what is presumed to be earned via ticket sales.

      I see a lot of people defending her but I remember her arguing for woody Allen. People will groan at me but I don’t care for her winning at all. Yes Disney is evil but they are so damn powerful, she’ll likely get blackballed behind the scenes so as someone who is baffled at her success and stardom, I wanna see how this plays out overtime.

  7. E.D says:

    I’m quite amazed by the wording in that Disney statement. There’s way too much hyperbole in how they are describing what’s happened in the last year or so.

    I also can’t help but feel that they would never try and shame a male lead actor in the way they are doing here by mentioning how much she’s been paid already and therefore trying to make her out as simply greedy.

    A contracts a contract and I’d say they are absolutely in breach of theirs.

    Go Scarlett and get that $ I say.

    • SarahCS says:

      It was the statement that really shocked me. The they would try and screw over a successful actress, sad but true, but that statement, wow. You know you did wrong Disney and now you’re showing us that you know. Gaslighting 101.

    • TeamMeg says:

      Can’t believe Disney Covid-shamed her. Really low. A contract is binding, and Disney breached. They need to own it.

      • Golly Gee says:

        And if they’re so concerned about Covid, they wouldn’t have released it in theaters period. Hypocrites.

    • lucy2 says:

      I am too. I find it pretty gross they pretty much said “we paid her enough” and “how dare she sue us, COVID!”

      It sounds like she had a pretty clear contract and they broke it. They’ve had very similar contracts with RDJ, and certainly with Johnny Depp for all of his pirate movies. They never EVER would have said “we already paid RDJ/Depp this much money, isn’t that enough?”

    • stagaroni says:

      I hope that statement is used against them aggressively.

  8. sa says:

    I really can’t get on board with actors suing because their movies are released on streaming platforms during a pandemic. It’s an unprecedented time and adjustments to how we do things are necessary.

    But, I do think there is merit to disney and her people should have negotiated the appropriate way to compensate her when they made the decision to release it on disney+. Disney doesn’t get to unilaterally change her contract terms.

    • SM says:

      I agree. this contract, judging on timelines, was signed before the pandemic, and I for one am happy for any company that allows to minimise the risk of virus, releasing stuff online instead of forcing people to go to cinemas is one of such measures.

    • Maddie says:

      I don’t think she (or any actor) would have an issue with the movie being released on a streaming platform if they had renegotiated the contract to reflect the change in release strategy.

    • Imar says:

      This is where I am with this situation. The whole thing sits odd to me.

    • lucy2 says:

      I agree. They could have negotiated a lump sum for her, to compensate for the losses when they chose to stream it.
      I’m not a fan of her as a person, but I’m on her side with this, and I hope she has great lawyers. Going against Disney will be tough, but it sounds pretty clear cut that they failed to meet the terms of her contract, and are trying to publicly shame her in a way they would NEVER due to a man.

    • MF1 says:

      Yeah, I agree with this. Scarlett has a point, but what else was Disney supposed to do? They can’t sit on their new releases until the pandemic is over because they need to make money to keep operating. And since a lot of people don’t want to go to movie theaters, the only reliable way to do that is through streaming.

      Of course, I’m a little biased because I think Scarlett is a-hole who’s been taking away roles from POC for years. I’m more worried about the rank-and-file Disney employees who are gonna get laid off if Disney can’t keep releasing movies online.

      • Rnot says:

        One option would have been to pay her a percentage of the $29.99 streaming fees in addition to her percentage of the ticket sales. Of course they didn’t want to do that but the problem was the contract that they signed before the pandemic didn’t allow for simultaneous streaming release. They were unwilling to wait for the end of the pandemic to release it in theaters. They were unwilling to lose out on the money from the people who won’t go to theaters until it’s over. So they decided to violate the contract.

        They could have chosen to do the right thing by renegotiating or by waiting. They did not. I hope this leads to a class action lawsuit against Disney. I don’t like SJ at all but I’d root for Attila the Hun if he was fighting the mouse.

    • Soupie says:

      Both sides messed up. Disney should have included the language about streaming in case of a pandemic (or other circumstance). But her team also should have caught that. You can bet both sides will be more careful from now on. Heads are probably rolling as to why this was allowed to happen.

      • Antonym says:

        My understanding is that her side did catch it and raised it repeatedly. I believe the emails included with the complaint caver the reiterating by her side that there would be no simultaneous release to streaming. And then additional emails reraising the issue post March 2020 to discuss the potential need to renegotiate given the changed circumstances. Disney messed this one up and hoped not to be called on it. They were wrong and I hope this helps other, less powerful actresses/ors.

        Semi related: Apparently Warner Bros. was much better at renegotiating contracts to account for the unforeseen circumstances of a global pandemic.

  9. Darla says:

    She’s been a victim of sexism the entire time she was with Marvel and then Disney. That’s a fact. This will get really sexist too. I just don’t have it in me to care. I bet she’s already defending Michael Che in private. Let’s see if she’s still stupid enough to say something publicly. I think she’s right but I have bigger battles to fight and i don’t give a isht.

    • Maria says:

      This is my stance. I’m no defender of corporations and I guess she’s right but she’s a stan for a child rapist and other nonsense so I could care less.

    • Fortuona says:

      And Ike was then moved out of his job

  10. wow says:

    these streaming deals are screwing over a ton of people, bu no one dared to go against Disney.

  11. Merricat says:

    I am just fine with Scarlett Johansson using her immense privilege to take on Disney, just as I was fine with Taylor Swift going after Apple.

    • Powermoonchrystal says:

      This comment x 100. She is an idiot, but she is 100% right this time, and she can take the brunt for other artists to get their due.

    • TeamMeg says:

      “Privilege” sounds a little harsh here. Being a blond bombshell is completely tied in with her success, but I think Scarlett has earned her standing in the industry.

  12. Case says:

    “The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

    The fact that Disney has the nerve to say this as they keep their cesspool amusement parks open as the virus surges in places like Orlando blows my mind.

    But more on topic, I don’t begrudge any company for switching to streaming during the pandemic. In fact, I really appreciate it on a personal level, and think these changes are here to stay. But in that case, they should’ve worked out a new backend deal with Scarlet. Black Widow made like 60M the first weekend on Disney+ alone. They did breach their contract and didn’t work out something new for her, so this is warranted.

  13. jbyrdku says:

    Eh, I’m not a huge fan of hers and I think she probably has enough money.

    • Merricat says:

      So Disney doesn’t have enough money?

      • Starkille says:

        Both can be true simultaneously. It’s not an either/or situation. Disney sucks and she sucks too.

      • Merricat says:

        It actually is an either/or. Either Disney keeps the money, or they hand it over to her. There’s no third option.

    • Case says:

      She definitely has enough money, but if a contract was breached and she was cheated out of money she believes she’s owed from a company she’s worked with for 10+ years, she has every right to sue.

  14. Maddie says:

    Interesting to see if any of her former Marvel co-stars will speak up for her, the way they spoke up when Chris Pratt was voted “Least Favorite Hollywood Chris”…

    j/k. They won’t.

    If Disney really violated the contract and refused to amend it, this lawsuit could become very important for all actors going forward. I remember Denzel going through a similar situation last year and I’m sure there are many more actors calling their agents right now.

    Dual-releases seem to be inevitable in 2021 and possibly 2022 to curb the losses caused by the pandemic, but why the studios need to cut the actors in on the streaming profits.

    Also, would be interested in knowing whether white male actors got the same difficulties with studios refusing to sit down and to renegotiate their contracts.

    • Darla says:

      I don’t really think that the least favorite chris absolute nonsense is comparable to this. They could stick up for Pratt with zero risk to their careers. I think what is comparable is what happened to Ray Fisher over at WB. And no white guys defended him to my knowledge. Jason Momoa did.

      I mean this to say that these A list white dudes aren’t putting their asses on the line for anyone.

    • Lightpurple says:

      Kevin Feige is reportedly livid about the way Scarlett was treated and how the film was handled. Feige has a lot more clout on money issues than any of her cast mates.

      • Courtney B says:

        Yeah, he’s been pissed from the day of the announcement. He was lobbying for a year to keep pushing the release date. Now they’ve run into conflict with Disney+ shows which are interlinked and needed to release it. BUT they could’ve kept it to the theaters. And they screwed over theater chains as well which were counting on surefire hits like this, FF9, etc to help bring people back.

      • Fortuona says:

        But he signed her replacement and then booked for a show that comes out in 3 months

      • Courtney B says:

        @fortuona that was done long before. Just like getting Julia Louis Dreyfus to appear here and in FATWS and having the latter occur before the corner which as supposed to be the introduction of that character. It still worked but Yelena wouldn’t.

      • Fortuona says:

        Which is the point as Flo is in Hawkeye and it comes out in November and Feige went out of his way to book her for the show .She knew that she would have films to do but they went to her and asked to come onto the show pre movies .They knew when it would come out and Valentina was due do be in BW first then FATWS

  15. Steph says:

    I said this last night on Twitter, if they were worried about the pandemic, they could have pushed the release date back.

    I just checked my Disney+. And now I think I may owe my brother $30 lol. But if I’m not mistaken these are also one time fees and then you get permanent access to the movies. A large chunk of Marvel movie goers are repeat customers. So they buy several tickets each. Plus, whole families are watching off of one sale. Even if she gets a chunk of the Disney+ sales it won’t amount to anywhere near the money of ticket sales.

    She’s completely in the right to sue them.

    • Fortuona says:

      There are other things that the her castmates are in like Hawkeye which is going to come out in Novemberso they had 3 months space

      • Steph says:

        What does the Hawkeye storyline have to do with Black Widow. They are going to mention their friendship. That’s it. BW was a stand alone movie that doesn’t interfere with the timelines of the other stories so it could be delayed.

      • Fortuona says:

        Yelana is sent is to kill him at the end of the movie by JLD and Hawkeye starts in 3 months .Flo has already filmed it

      • Courtney B says:

        @Steph the end credit set up the Hawkeye story. They already introduced Valentina in Falcon and the Winter Soldier when it should’ve been done here. The shows and movies are really interlinked. They didn’t have to simultaneously release it on Disney+ though.

      • Fortuona says:

        But then might have lost $100′s of million because the crowds were nott going to see it and China refused in a release date

        And Scarlett would still not have got her money

  16. D says:

    This is not just about Scarlett and this one situation. It’s similar to what happened with DVD releases of movies and tv shows back in the day. The contracts didn’t have language about profits for actors and writers for the renting or buying of DVDs and they had to fight to get that (the WGA went on strike). There isn’t the language in contracts right now about earning through streaming services when they make these big movies because they always made the major profits from theatrical releases. Disney is trying to make money but cut Scarlett (and probably other creatives like producers) out of making the bonuses they would get when the box office hit certain milestones. So this is to set a precedent and I hope she wins. Disney basically owns over half of the entertainment industry at this point so it’s a big deal for her to do this and if she wins it will help other talent and creatives negotiate better.

    • lucy2 says:

      I remember that, with the DVDs and all. I remember several actors declining to do commentary and bonus features for the DVDs, saying they would not receive any compensation for it, or any portion of the sales, and that was a big business for a long time.

  17. Jay says:

    Wasn’t Disney World one of the first things to reopen in the midst of the third wave?

    I’ll believe Disney cares so hard about Covid when elephants fly…

    • megs283 says:

      YES! I was about to say the same thing. Disney is so concerned with COVID that they opened Disney World as soon as humanly possible. For the people and to keep our spirits high, obviously.

  18. TeamAwesome says:

    There are tons of completely plausible theories right now that set the stage for a Black Widow return in phase 4, including the fact that the end scene was originally written with a tease that Natasha was alive. ScarJo was the star and an executive producer, and I think we all know if this was any of her male costars they wouldn’t have blowed her off over renegotiating the contract and they wouldn’t be trying to shame them with concern trolling.

  19. Isa says:

    I’m NAF of hers, but she needs to get that money. I’m tired of women not being paid the same.

  20. Songs (Or it didnt happen) says:

    Scarlett made a statement that she felt Disney should have withheld the release of the movie for “a few more months” until theaters were doing brisker business. That is just woefully ignorant as it is going to take a lot longer than a few months. The film had already been delayed and delayed. Should they have just let it sit on the shelf indefinitely? That’s not really a better solution.

    • Sigmund says:

      I actually agree. I’m no fan of Disney’s (I immediately thought of the authors they’ve refused to pay since buying the SW franchise), but I don’t think holding out for a theater-only release would have been realistic or a guaranteed money maker. There’s still a pandemic, and it looks like there will be for awhile.

      The question becomes what, if any, changes did they make to her contract when it became clear they would have to release it on D+. She does deserve a portion of the profits from streaming, but it’s actually a little unclear if she got any or not. Disney’s statement appears to be implying that she did, but I wouldn’t put it last them to misrepresent the situation.

    • Steph says:

      Disney could have held this off for a year or 2 if they wanted and it wouldn’t have hurt their bottom line. It was a closed story. They didn’t need it out to continue with the rest of their releases. And two years from now would have still have drawn the box office sales they were hoping for.

      • Songs (Or it didnt happen) says:

        It isn’t an entirely closed story as characters from the film are going to appear in other MCU works. But, yeah, it wouldn’t hurt their bottom line really. The thing is, it is more than just the bottom line. Another delay would only disappoint people who’ve been waiting for a film that was already delayed three times. It would negatively impact the careers of actors other than ScarJo who could get more work and visibility based on their roles in the film. It would add fuel to the conversation about low profit female led MCU films, as interest and box office would wane the longer time went on.

        ETA: I think Disney could have done more to make sure her compensation was fair given this release modification, my only point is that putting off the release longer would have been a sucky solution.

      • Fortuona says:

        Steph

        Florence Pugh is in Hawkeye which drops in November and she has already filmed it and then is supposed to cross back over to the films

    • Case says:

      I agree — the idea of waiting “a few more months” is so silly. Not to be a downer, but I think summertime was the best chance we had at getting some normalcy and at least in the US, we’ve already screwed that up and are going downhill again. It’s not gonna get better in the fall or winter.

      The film was already delayed quite a bit, and it connects to other Marvel properties they want to release. They can’t hold up their entire pipeline of Marvel movies indefinitely until things get better; realistically, I don’t think that will be for another year or two at this point. But what they should’ve done is renegotiated with her to make sure she’s compensated fairly.

      • Fortuona says:

        And she has been replaced and the film had to be out by November as that it when Hawkeye is out

      • JT says:

        I can’t say I’m upset at Disney over this especially with the way things are going with the pandemic. (Not that I think Disney cares about people’s health.) Disney is a business and they cannot just hold on to these very expensive movies indefinitely. Things might not get back to normal for some time and movie attendance is down because of it. They have other films lined up so it’s now or never.

      • North of Boston says:

        J, all that could be true but Disney could have approached her team with the new release strategy and worked to make her whole or give her a comparable portion of the streaming revenue, instead of siphoning $$$ off to its own business units (ie Disney +)

      • Fortuona says:

        North of Boston

        They were trying to get their budget back because as it is they made $120 m and Scarlett want wants $50 m of that

        And is it not Disney fault they cannot get a realease date in China unlike Fast 308 and that is where $300 m of their take came from

    • Becks1 says:

      And the reality is that this is a risk that you take with these back end deals – that the movie ends up not doing well for whatever reason. Maybe there’s a pandemic, maybe it gets bad reviews (I know BW got good reviews but just in general), maybe there’s a scandal with one of your co-stars that turns people away from the movie, etc. Actors aren’t entitled to a certain amount with these back end deals (I mean maybe they are depending on the specific contract terms but again just in general.) there is never a guarantee for box office results even though MCU movies obviously make bank so its as close to a guarantee as you’re going to get.

      Scarlett and her team should focus less on the idea that “disney should have held off” because that was not going to guarantee her more money and more on the idea that Disney sabotaged the film with the premier access release.

  21. Soupie says:

    I’m fully in support of Scarlett’s position, and the lawsuit DOES have merit. Attorneys always say that ish right out the gate when they’re wrong.

    • cassandra says:

      I figure she wouldn’t be willing to go against a corporation like Disney unless she had a pretty good shot at winning.,

  22. Sigmund says:

    She deserves a portion of the streaming profits. Full stop. However, it’s unclear if she didn’t get any of that streaming money, or if she did, and she’s arguing that she would have earned more if it were a theater-only release, and so Disney should make up the difference.

    “Disney has fully complied with Ms. Johansson’s contract and furthermore, the release of Black Widow on Disney+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date.”

    Clearly, Disney is playing word games in their statement (and it’s for the lawyers to figure that part out) but it does make me wonder what they mean when they say “ability to earn additional compensation”.

    Either way, she’s still right to play hard ball with Disney. They will happily mow down their own talent, and I absolutely think their statement is misogynistic.

    • Songs (Or it didnt happen) says:

      I heard in other conversations that she had bonus money tied specifically to box office numbers, which were inarguably affected, but I’m not sure how accurate that is.

      • Becks1 says:

        That’s typically how it works based on my understanding. I dont know numbers so I’m just going to make some up lol, but if the movie crossed 100 million domestically she would get a 10 million bonus, if the movie crossed a billion globally she would get a 25 million bonus, or whatever. So its not just that she may have gotten a percentage of the box office money, she had these specific bonuses tied into certain thresholds that she probably isnt going to get.

  23. Jessica says:

    When I saw this yesterday I immediately had a negative reaction because it’s SJ and I really don’t like her. At first glance it seems like “oh poor movie star didn’t get her millions boo hoo” but she really has a point. Studios use the back end deals to avoid paying as much up front, and she absolutely should get what she’s due. As everyone else has said, if it were any other male avenger, this wouldn’t have happened. She’s problematic but in this case she’s right. People aren’t all good or all bad, which tends to get forgotten these days

  24. Merricat says:

    Justifying Disney’s actions by saying you don’t like the actor involved is breathtaking to me. This means you’re saying that it’s okay to discriminate against people if you don’t like them. I find that shocking.

  25. MellyMel says:

    Not a fan of hers, but she’s right to sue. Also Disney acting like the care about people getting sick and dying cause of Covid when they were so eager to open up their parks in the middle of a pandemic is laughable.

  26. Kasalvy says:

    I work for a production company and we released a movie last summer – streaming only, though the original intention was an exclusive theatrical. We shot well before the pandemic, and all of our actors had contracts signed as well. Every one of their reps had a theatrical and streaming clause included, and these were signed almost two years before covid. It makes me wonder why her reps didn’t insist on including a streaming clause in her contract? Especially since the rise of streaming in general, even before the pandemic hit

    • Sofia says:

      I imagine her contract was signed around 2009 or something (Iron Man 2 was her first Marvel movie and that came out in 2010) and streaming wasn’t becoming huge at the time and actors/movie studious wouldn’t know just how big it would become. Idk if they renegotiated later to add streaming but I’m guessing they didn’t

      • Becks1 says:

        I am sure her contract for Black Widow is not the same contract that she signed in 2009. If it is, then her lawyers are crap.

      • Courtney B says:

        BW is an entirely separate contract. She and RDJ signed before Marvel started locking people in for multiple movies. They got burned when RDJ was only signed through IM3 and Avengers. They had to negotiate for Avengers 2-4, CA:Civil War and Spider-Man:Homecoming. All the remaining original six were locked in just through Avengers 3.

    • Becks1 says:

      This line from Disney:

      ” the release of Black Widow on Disney+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date.”

      makes me wonder if there WAS a streaming clause and she would get some cut based on streaming numbers but nowhere near what she would get from the box office returns. So by releasing it on PA, she still got some money, but not anywhere near what she had expected if it were a theater-only release.

      • Sigmund says:

        @Becks1 That’s what I wondered too. If potentially she did get some of the streaming profits but is arguing she would have earned more if it were a theater-only release.

      • Rapunzel says:

        Becks-

        As I heard it, the contract wasn’t renegotiated. Considering premier access wasn’t a thing when it was written, I doubt she’s getting a cut. Any streaming clause would be normal streaming, months after the film was in theaters.

        I think saying, “the release of Black Widow on Disney+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date” is referring to the general release of the film. Like Disney is saying, “we released it on premier access so you could earn some extra money (from the theaters it’s in at the same time) so shut up.”

        I honestly don’t see this suit getting filed if she was getting any premier access money. I think it’s clear she wants a cut of that.

      • Kasalvy says:

        I have to agree, her lawyers should have been smart enough to include that – maybe they did, but it’s not getting her as much money as she expected. Unfortunately for her she’s coming across as petty insisting that theaters would get her more $$ which is completely hypothetical during a pandemic, when people still are not comfortable going to a theater (I haven’t yet and I work in this industry)

        What also isn’t going to help her case is that Dwayne Johnson just announced that he has no intention of going after Disney for streaming back end as Jungle Cruise just released. It’s also putting a sour taste on the film, I am even less inclined to watch it (not a fan of Scarlett, but I adore Florence Pugh)

      • Rapunzel says:

        Kasalvy- The Rock not going after streaming proceeds is likely not relevant to ScarJo’s case. First of all, what was his base salary? More than 20 mill, I bet. If that’s the case, I’m sure he does not want to advertise that inequality.

        And did his contract include a back end bonus for theater performance? Possibly not. If so, he’d have no case anyway.

        And, did Rock have a clause insisting on theater play? Also possibly not. So again, no case.

        And any judge worth their salt will look at other stars not complaining as “they were afraid to buck the system” which is likely true in the Rock’s case. So I don’t see Rock’s actions having any significant impact.

        More significant is the fact Disney didn’t renegotiate like WB.

      • Kasalvy says:

        @Rapunzel You would be hard pressed to find ANY lead actor contract that doesn’t have back end. He got $22mil for Jungle Cruise.

        This entire situation is lose lose for everyone. SJ looks difficult to work with (spoiler, she is) and Disney looks like a horrible company (they are).

      • Rapunzel says:

        Kasalvy- I don’t think back end deals are common unless you’re important. Which yes, the rock is. But I don’t think it’s a given.

        I totes agree though: everyone looks bad.

      • Courtney B says:

        The Rock may end up going after the. SJ did her PR, waited until the movie was out not to overshadow or affect it, then filed. Who knows if the Rock or even Emily Blunt may do something later.

      • stagaroni says:

        @Kasalvy, Johnson might not be suing Disney, but rumor is his co-star in Jungle Cruise, Emily Blunt, just might. In other news, Johnson was paid $22 mil for JC, while his female lead Emily Blunt was only paid $9 mil. It is nice to see he speaks out in support of fair wages and ethical treatment for his co-stars and fellow actors. /s

    • D says:

      I think the issue is with the bigger tentpole type movies. Smaller movies have been released day and date on streaming platforms for years at this point but the huge event type movies have always been intended for theatrical and that is where they make the huge profits. I don’t doubt there is language in the contracts about streaming but it’s most likely for after a theatrical release and we don’t know what the percentage was for streaming vs. theatrical. I don’t imagine her lawyers are going to go after Disney, not to mention all of her management and agency teams, if they don’t feel confident they have a strong leg to stand on. Everyone has too much to lose.

    • Algernon says:

      She may well have streaming clauses in her contract. The sticking point seems to be that her contract guaranteed a theatrical exclusive release, which they did not keep to. Disney probably could have avoided all of this by buying out her bonuses beforehand, as WB did with Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins for WW84. WB also ended up paying hundreds of millions to talent to buy out profit sharing for all their 2021 movies that are debuting in HBO Max. Disney has apparently not taken this approach and now they’re being sued.

  27. Ann says:

    Respect to ScarJo on this one. She’s sticking her neck out and if she wins it will be good for many of the creatives Disney has no problem screwing over and exploiting. All these huge media companies with newish streaming services are screwing people over on the backend because there hasn’t been anyone to say boo about it. If it’s happening to Scarlett Johansson it’s happening to lots of other people.

  28. Elizabeth M says:

    I personally don’t like ScarJo AT ALL, but she is 100% justified in this lawsuit and I hope she gets all she deserves and more.

    Scarlett was an original core member of one of the film industry’s most popular and profitable franchises in the world. She helped bring legitimacy to the start of the MCU as a legit movie star and box office draw, whereas RDJ’s career was famously reborn because of Iron Man and the MCU Chrises went supernova because of the MCU. They raked in serious bank from multiple movies of their solo franchises, she deserved to reap the financial benefits of her ONE solo movie after putting with…let’s just say uneven character development and putting in a decade’s work.

    It is ASTOUNDING to me that Disney didn’t just cut her an equitable check of what would be her paycheck + bonuses like Warner Bros. did for Wonder Woman 1984 and its 2021 HBO Max slate – that’s how you DON’T END UP WITH LAWSUIT HEADLINES AND UNFLATTERING PRESS AND SCRUTINY!!! Now Disney has put itself under the microscope in a potentially groundbreaking legal case that could impact the future of the industry like Bette Davis and Olivia De Havilland’s lawsuits did. Bad move House of Mouse.

  29. ennie says:

    I have Disney + in my country, but I am waiting for the premiere pay per view to pass to watch on my tv. I am afraid f theaters, as in my country /state, things have been getting worse lately, hospitals are full again because many people are not vaccinated and are around without masks on. They surely will be eating and drinking at the movies. I am a big fan of cinema, bit no, thanks, pass.
    As for Scarlett, I support this.

  30. Aud says:

    Disney: do it for exposure.

    To an a list actress.

  31. Likeyoucare says:

    Get that money. If she didnt do it now then all the new actor/actress will get f*ck.

  32. Justjj says:

    It’s honestly repulsive that actors even make this kind of money when income inequality has never been higher and millions of people are still facing eviction all over the country. Something has to be done about billionaires, millionaires, athletes, and celebrities making this kind of money. It’s just depressing anymore, when tens of millions of people work harder than any of these a holes, only to live paycheck to paycheck and barely keep a roof over their head. I’m not siding with Disney, but it does come across as very tone deaf to complain about not getting your bonuses on top of your 20 million. That is a disgusting amount of money to earn off of one film, IMO.

    • ennie says:

      It is more repulsive that the company makes it and throws crumbs at the people involved. We the public around the world pay to watch sports, concerts, entertainment, so it is no wonder that the performer l, the creators make a good chunk. Why not? What would you do with the money? Give it to whom? They are the face of it, they are what people want to see. A lot of the money doesn’t even stay in the country where people pay to watch, a lot goes to the US or wherever. It is not fair, but it is their right. Maybe taxes should be higher for them.

      • Justjj says:

        Um, listen, she should get what she’s owed but yeah, it’s still disgusting that people in entertainment earn this kind of money. I don’t know, maybe studio billionaires and industry people should pay taxes with it? Solve California’s homelessness problem off a chunk of the profits from one movie if that’s where they want to live? Give it to hungry children? Use it to lobby for policy that supports working families so they can continue to go to the movies? If it’s a movie that touts feminism, support schools for girls and women in parts of the world where their opportunities are scarce? Give it to college students in theatre arts or support art programs in school? Support high schools, athletic facilities, and after school programs, in the city they play sports in, so that every kid has a better opportunity to learn? Fund parks? Improve public housing or give it to habitat for humanity? I can think of lots of things rich athletes could do with their tens of millions and franchise owners and the rest of them could do. I can think of lots of things rich actors, studio owners, and famous people could do with that money. I don’t know. I mean yes, Scarjo needs her bread. But also, we have a serious problem with what the top 1-5% are allowed to earn and honestly, it’s really gross that some studio d bag gets another yacht or a second or third home in LA, while the looming eviction crisis is already here and teenage kids sleep in the street. I don’t know. Somethings messed up. Is all I was trying to say.

    • Darla says:

      No, actors and athletes are millionaires, not billionaires. Specifically talking about actors, huge corporations like Disney make billions off of their labor. And don’t forget about 90% of well-known actors vote to have their taxes raised. While, corporations like Disney use the billions they make off of them to lobby for the opposite, along with lobbying against effective climate policy, LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, minority rights, voting rights…etc.

      The actors are not the problem. Not for me anyway.

      • Justjj says:

        Yes, and billionaires and multi-millionaires should not exist. As AOC put it-you don’t “make” a billion dollars. You take a billion dollars. Don’t get me wrong, ScarJo should get her share for sure but also, where are they paying all these taxes? As far as I can tell, systemic problems, hunger, and homelessness are alive and well in CA and throughout the country so, I’m confused.

  33. KBeth says:

    Disney’s response is so distasteful. Trying to shame her, I sincerely hope it backfires on them.

    • Courtney B says:

      Considering the struggling movie chains we’re counting on movies like this to help recover only to have Disney yank it out from underneath them with no warning, their covid statement is pretty galling.

  34. Lightpurple says:

    Emma Stone is considering a similar lawsuit over Cruella.

    Apparently, Scarlett has a very powerful ally. Kevin Feige is reportedly livid over the way the film and the situation with Scarlett were handled.

  35. Rapunzel says:

    Disney will lose this lawsuit. Scarlett’s contract was violated. She’s almost certainly not getting any of the premier access money because the contract was not renegotiated. It was written when premier access wasn’t a thing.

    Warner Bros. set a precedent with HBO Max. They renegotiated contracts when they decided to release all their films to HBO Max at the same time as theaters. And that move isn’t generating lucrative premier access money either, just subscriber money. A good judge is gonna immediately wanna know why Disney didn’t do the same. It’s damning to their case.

    Why Disney felt they’d get away with this is astounding. And saying ” she got 20 mill.” and “she doesn’t care about Covid” is disgusting af.

    It doesn’t matter if she got 20 mill. What matters is she didn’t get what her contract specified. And she is in no way disregarding Covid. She just wants what she’s owed.

    The mouse house is being gross and greedy, and they are going to get their assessments kicked here. ScarJo and her lawyers will stomp all over them.

    • Becks1 says:

      Honestly – I see everyone saying “she’s going to win, her contract was violated” but unless people here have seen the contract, and are entertainment lawyers specializing in these kinds of contracts….none of us know. Contract law at this level is really complicated, that’s why the lawyers are making big bucks.

      I’m not saying Disney behaved “ethically,” I’m saying they may have behaved legally. Companies have the right to set their own business practices within the confines of the law, so I’m not sure that Warner Bros is all that compelling a comparison. They chose to handle it one way, Disney chose another.

      I do not think disney is scared of Scar Jo’s lawyers for one minute. Disney has the money to bury this for the next 10 years.

      Again – I think Disney should have given her a lump sum “bonus” or added a clause to the contract to cover the PA money or something – but I’m not sure that failing to do so means Disney violated the contract.

      • Rapunzel says:

        I gotta disagree, Becks. Disney is shook. Hence their extremely smearing statement re: ScarJo. They are pissed cause they know they messed up. They know they’re in trouble and are acting desperate. See: them getting the Rock to announce he won’t be suing.

        ScarJo’s lawyers would likely not mess around with Disney if it wasn’t a slam dunk. And WB’s handling of things will make Disney look very bad. Plus, if Kevin Feige is on her side…

        Also, any violation isn’t in not giving a premier access cut. It’s in releasing it to premier access at all. This case likely hinges on a simple “must release in theaters for x days” clause. It’s a simple matter of did they or not. It won’t take 10 years.

      • Sigmund says:

        @Rapunzel But it’s still in theaters. The whole question becomes, did they specify it had to be released ONLY in theaters? We don’t know the language in her contract.

      • Rapunzel says:

        Sigmund- if it didn’t say only, her lawyers would not have filed. Period. No lawyer sues Disney without being sure the contract language supports them.

      • Darla says:

        The Rock came out and said he’s not suing? Wow. Okay.

  36. WithTheAmerican says:

    Can’t stand her sexual abuse denying self, BUT. this backend treatment/loss impacts a lot of other actors too and some crew depending on their deals.

    Disney is hurting a lot of people and if they get away with it, all of the studios will follow.

    This is their effort to undermine unions. Entertainment unions have been trying for YEARS to make sure everyone is covered in the move to digital.

    • Jenna says:

      If not her then some other actor — it was bound to happen. Studios are in uncharted waters with how to market and sell movies to a public that can’t justify what a movie night out costs these days, and probably wouldn’t go to a theater anyway, even if they could afford it.

      We’re still sorting through the legal ramifications of music and books going digital, I’m surprised it took so long for movies to enter the fray.

  37. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I roll my eyes at this woman all the time, especially when she opens her mouth. But this isn’t about her mouth. Or her acting abilities. Or politics or privilege or looks. It’s about contracts. Both parties signed the contract and have responsibilities. One can’t back peddle and say yada yada yada, 20 million or yada yada yada, covid. It’s all quite elementary and hopefully SJ has the sense to let this play out on paper without dramatic commentary. It is what it is. We purchased for streaming, but I’ll likely never go to theaters again. It’s been many years since I sat with dozens of strangers in a closed dark space lol. This should be a learning experience for Disney. Don’t make promises you can’t keep or at the very least, plan for contingencies like say….pandemics.

    • Sigmund says:

      I mean, none of us were prepared for the pandemic, to be fair.

      One of the (many) problems with companies like Disney is they assume the profits will only go up indefinitely. And if they don’t, the company finds ways to shaft people out of money in order to keep making a profit. However, I’m not sure they’ve ever tried to pull that type of behavior with someone as high-profile as Scarlet Johansson.

      I don’t think she’s wrong to sue, but I’m not convinced it’s the slam dunk a lot of people think it is, either. It will depend on how her contract is worded.

      • Jenna says:

        It’s absolutely not a slam dunk. Disney gives a grand total of zero sparkly turds what the public thinks of them, because people will pay to watch these big stupid movies regardless, and they know it.

        It reads as opportunistic on Johansson’s part because Disney has been exploitative and awful for generations, so the time for an outraged stand-taking and bridge-burning shouldn’t come AFTER you know you won’t ever appear in the franchise again.

      • North of Boston says:

        I think waiting until the Mouse House no longer has control of your future projects is a perfectly reasonable move.

  38. Mia4s says:

    I hate to be a killjoy as it’s an interesting as hell story, but at the end of the day we may not hear much of anything about how this works out. I haven’t seen her contract, so I’m not sure how much ambiguity is there. But where her case is weak as hell? The case for keeping this out of Arbitration. I get what and why they are trying but, I don’t see it. And once it goes to arbitration things will get VERY quiet.

    Also pay no attention to that $50 million figure. Yes it’s too high for a movie that was destined to be a medium success. But any lawyer will tell you, never put your final number on the table first. Aim high, it’s good strategy.

  39. Jenna says:

    It’s either in the contract that they were obligated to delay release to their streamer, or it isn’t. It’s that simple.

    This IS the company that has sued, and threatened to sue, elementary schools for having unlicensed movie nights with a Disney DVD, so if their singular focus on their investors’ bottom line surprises you, you really haven’t been paying attention.

    I have a really hard time being all “You go, girl!” over an eight-figure paycheck dispute when evictions moratoriums fell nationwide today and literally millions of people will be homeless by Monday.

    The “I would’ve made more backend per ticket if the movie only opened in theaters” argument, in light of how the Delta Covid variant is ravaging the entire country right now is capital-G grubby.

    Johansson has made a career of Not A Good Look, and she can throw this one on the pile.

    • North of Boston says:

      And why isn’t Disney making bank, siphoning profit away from its talent capital G grubby?

      They could have charged less for the at home COVID stressed audience. They could have renegotiated the contract so that SJ could still have the risk AND potential upside of a split release strategy. But they didn’t.

  40. Veronica S. says:

    Good. There have been a few authors coming out (Alan Dean Foster being the biggest) revealing that Disney stopped paying them royalties on books they’ve written for properties they’ve purchased like Lucasfilm and whatnot, but most of them do but have the star power or finances to take them to task. If she manages to win, it can set precedent for the others to fight back. This is about more than one wealthy white actress mad about finances. This will be definitely be testing whether there will be any accountability for anybody entering into contracts with them in the long run.

    • Fortuona says:

      ADF can write as many Star Wars books as he like they don’t have to admit it is cannon though

      • Veronica S. says:

        It has nothing to do with whether it’s canon but whether the stipulations in the original contract allow him to collect royalties on sold books. Just because the ownership changed hands does not mean the contract stops being viable. If Disney is selling the product ADF created with the right to collect royalties on the proceeds, they owe him the royalties he is contracted for.

      • Fortuona says:

        Depends on his deal with Lucas

  41. HH says:

    @Becks1 is right. It’s impossible to assess the validity of SJ’s claim or determine her likelihood of success if this went to trial without seeing the language of the contract. Her own lawyer can’t tell her an exact likelihood of success even with access to the language. WB, the Rock, all these other entities are totally irrelevant to the question of what SJ’s contract said. There are a lot of questions here – is SJ’s position that the email reflects a mutual understanding of what the contract already said? Is she alleging the email constituted a modification of the contract (hard to do via email without consideration, etc). Unclear. And “receipts” don’t matter. It’s probably unlikely that her firm, Kasowitz, took her case on if it was meritless (and conflicted themselves out of representing Disney, ABC, ESPN, etc in the future). But Kasowitz has also done work for Trump so. Who knows. My guess is her lawyers likely concluded there’s enough gray here to create settlement pressure, as neither Disney nor SJ want the bad PR and expense of a long protracted trial.

    • Jenna says:

      “My guess is her lawyers likely concluded there’s enough gray here to create settlement pressure.”

      Probably. BUT. Disney Inc. has demonstrated over the years that they quite clearly do not care about “bad PR.”

      My kid’s high school had a fundraiser (for charity) a few years ago where they would “sell” the right for kids to paint their parking spots with a design of their choice (the appropriateness of which was curated in advance by the administration, of course).

      One student painted Minnie Mouse in her spot. I don’t know how, who, or why, but Disney got wind of it. The school ended up blacking out the Minnie part, and the girl went the rest of the year with just the polka-dot red bow in her spot. I heard rumors that Disney was demanding licensing fees from the county for the appropriation of a protected image, so admin was like, just get rid of it.

      Stories abound of Disney threatening school PTOs with lawsuits over Disney movie screenings, sending cease and desist letters to people with character tattoos — and the artists who did them. They’re heavy-handed, they have deep pockets, and they’re absolutely relentless. They do not care about PR.

  42. Miss Melissa says:

    She deserves it. They should pay her.

    • Fortuona says:

      Well she deserved the money she got but they had to release it now as Flo is in Hawkeye (called back in by Feige to make it) which is out in Nov and they tried to get their budget back .If they released as she wanted it the whole of the rest movies/Tv shows might have to also be delayed as we do not know what is actually in them

      • Miss Melissa says:

        Sure, from a business standpoint, the deal was done before the pandemic.

        Disney’s response is the pandemic created new circumstances. OK, but those were new circumstances for BOTH parties. Disney gets to keep all the streaming money, no payouts to theaters. So pay her a cut of the online streaming revenue, rather than pocketing 100%.

      • Fortuona says:

        The film has hardly covered its budget though .$200 million and $ 120 m profit

        Disney cannot push another bunch of movies and TV shows down the road so Scarlett can make big bucks .They held off on releasing it for a year and only released in as they did because there was no time left

        Disney held off on release for a year,then released its first 3 shows the second with Valentina in out of order but they had no idea that China would not open its cinemas or let them know when they have a release date

        And I dont think her deal was for half the take of the film which is what she is claiming or 90% of the D+ take

      • Sigmund says:

        @Miss Melissa: We don’t actually know that Disney is pocketing the streaming revenue 100%. Their statement seems to be implying that she is getting a cut of the streaming revenue already.

  43. A.Key says:

    So it would have been better to make it an only theatre release prompting (idiotic) people to go out more, spread Covid and contribute to even more people dying? At least she’d have gotten more money then, right? Wow. You know what, I kinda wish now it was released originally when it was planned to, right in the middle of lockdown, with NO ONE going to see it. Man, I knew she was a cold calculating selfish B but wow this takes it to a whole new level.
    I mean people broke contracts when they stopped paying rent because they lost their jobs to Covid, I assume if she was the landowner she would have just evicted them right there and then, citing “but contract”. Wow. She’ll never make money from me again.

    • StormsMama says:

      Just admit you are cool with patriarchal misogyny and
      You are fine shaming SacrJo
      AS IF she is greedy
      But Disney is some Bambi in the woods

      So so soooooo sick or women being targeted! Yes Scarjo is problematic and a white lady, but she actually had enough power to take on Disney anc that is huge!!!

      Women and minorities are undermined and gaslit. The fact that commenters are suggesting she should just be grateful and she’s a “b” is repulsive.
      This is business. And women deserve to take a stand and get what is theirs.

  44. Bettyrose says:

    I hate Disney and I hate them more for making me side with Scarlet Johannsen. But online release is the future so it’s absurd that the same bonuses weren’t tied to online sales.

  45. The lady legit says:

    New information has come about the contract not saying that it had to be real send exclusively in theaters which why she is using the emails. I think she clearly wants more money and Disney will settle out of court. The statement from Disney was distasteful but I also think her suggestion of having the movie in theaters only does not take into consideration the rising number of positive cases and the Delta variant.

  46. JillyBean says:

    She is making an excellent point. I do believe this is on principle instead of money.

  47. Wiggly says:

    Both parts disgust me to no end. Millions of people are homeless, can’t get medicines healthcare or enough food and water, and then we have these monsters lining their pockets with endless money that doesn’t even exist.
    What a f up world.