Emma Stone might end up suing Disney too, following ScarJo’s lawsuit

Lori Laughlin drops her car off at valet as she goes shopping

As we discussed on Friday, Scarlett Johansson has sued Disney for breach of contract regarding the release of Black Widow. Scarlett fought Disney’s simultaneous release of Black Widow in theaters and streaming, and her lawsuit argues that the streaming numbers affect the box office, which affects her contractual backend, all while she receives nothing from the tens of millions of dollars Disney has made in streaming and new subscriptions. Well, it turns out that ScarJo wasn’t the only woman being screwed over by Disney’s contractual work-around. Emma Stone is reportedly weighing her options now, all because Disney did the same thing to her with Cruella.

Emma Stone is reportedly considering suing Disney over the release of Cruella on Disney+. The villainous origin story premiered simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ on May 28, utilizing the $29.99 Premier Access feature that previous pandemic pictures Mulan and Raya and the Last Dragon launched. While the Stone-led flick was considered a success amongst audiences and critics, the box office numbers weren’t terribly impressive. Many speculated that Cruella’s hybrid release cut into its overall numbers.

Former THR Editor Matt Belloni took to his exclusive newsletter What I’m Hearing… to report that the Cruella star is currently considering a lawsuit of her own. “Emma Stone, star of Cruella, is said to be weighing her options,” he wrote. Belloni also posed Emily Blunt’s name as a talent that could speak out after Jungle Cruise opens this weekend. He called Disney “notoriously difficult to deal with” in these circumstances, adding that fellow creatives have been waiting in the wings for someone in the spotlight to speak out.

Belloni indicated that Johansson has an overwhelming amount of support from fellow artists and speculated that this issue won’t be quieted. Disney lawyers were quick to respond to the Oscar-nominated talent’s action with a contentious statement. The studio claims that they completely adhered to all stipulations in Johansson’s contract. A possible attempt to undermine the actress’ claims, the statement said her salary wasn’t hindered by the Disney+ release, but instead increased.

Some clarity for the unexpected controversy could no doubt come from the actual contractual documents themselves, though it’s unlikely Disney would make those public. While Johansson is certainly a powerful figure, going against an almighty firm like the Walt Disney company conjures up imagery of a David and Goliath situation. The thing is, someone as sharp as Johansson wouldn’t likely go head to head with Disney without fertile ground to stand on. If Stone speaks out about Cruella in the coming weeks, it could be the nail in Premier Access’ coffin.

[From ScreenRant]

I think this misrepresents the crux of the argument: “If Stone speaks out about Cruella in the coming weeks, it could be the nail in Premier Access’ coffin.” The problem isn’t (necessarily) Premier Access, it’s that Disney refuses to profit-share with their talent on streaming, and Premier Access has become some kind of loophole for Disney to avoid paying out on actresses’ contractual backend deals. This is truly the kind of thing that Disney could have worked out behind-the-scenes with Scarlett and Emma and everyone else but chose not to. It would not surprise me at all if Disney truly believed that Scarlett would not dare sue them. That was their attitude when they responded to her, you know? It’s was like “how dare you!!” Disney said f–k around and find out and Scarlett and Emma were like “okay, let’s f–k around, y’all are about to find out.” I hope Emma does make a move. And Emily Blunt too!

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Photos courtesy of Getty, Avalon Red, Backgrid and Disney.

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24 Responses to “Emma Stone might end up suing Disney too, following ScarJo’s lawsuit”

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  1. Chic says:

    Somehow I doubt Emma will join.

    • Millennial says:

      I get the feeling she dropped that “weighing options” line so Disney would negotiate with her.

    • DuchessL says:

      She will totally be using scarlette’s lawsuit to get a settlement if not, she will sue and that will be 2 women against disney who clearly wronged them. The people will not be easy on Disney

  2. Case says:

    Yeah, Premier Access isn’t the issue. They need to freaking pay their actors what they’re owed and abide by their contracts.

    Premier Access would still be appealing to many if they put films on there directly after the movie left theaters. Still earlier than normal for new movies to stream.

  3. Becks1 says:

    I think Emily Blunt had a larger upfront salary, so she has less incentive to sue here.

    That’s the issue IMO – these actresses are taking smaller (not small, just smallER) upfront salaries than they might otherwise bc they think they are making a good bet with the backend deals. Not everybody does that (at least not to the extent I bet SJ did for black widow) so the PA and how it might affect box office results isn’t as big an issue for every actor.

  4. TheOriginalMia says:

    Sue them! Disney is printing money off Premium Access. It should be tied into the actresses’ backend salary. You know who isn’t complaining, probably because he is getting that PA money…the Rock.

    • Jessa says:

      I’d be interested to know who’s on what types of contracts. Didn’t RDJ make a huge amount because of back end deals, and I’m sure there are others too (I keep coming back to Tom Cruise and MI, but not sure if I’ve made that up), so I wouldn’t be surprised if there were male actors theoretically affected by this – the only reason it hasn’t yet is that there haven’t been any male led films out yet (that I can think of…) on Disney Plus – so far the big ones have been Mulan, Cruella and BW right?

      I wonder if Emily Blunt is putting her name out as a bit of a threat, it’s only just been release so potentially time to change the contract deal?

      • TheOriginalMia says:

        RDJ was originally the only Avenger with a back end deal, which made him hundreds of millions while his costars were getting base salaries. Once the initial Avenger contracts expired, the rest of them got in on those cushy deals. Back end is the real money maker.

    • lucy2 says:

      I found it odd they mentioned Emily Blunt but not the Rock, as they are equally billed in the movie. I’d be very curious to see the differences between the 2 contracts.

  5. Mia4s says:

    I strongly doubt this because the reason Scarlett sued Disney but not also Marvel is to try and get around an arbitration clause. Cruella and Jungle Cruise were both Disney Disney, so my guess is the Arbitration clause covers all parties and we will hear radio silence beyond some rumours.

    I would give a week’s pay to get my hands on the contracts though! That would be some damn interesting reading!!

  6. Snappyfish says:

    While I completely understand being livid at not getting the backend you had anticipated you also knew the film was compromised by COVID. Also the movie has to do well to earn backend. I don’t know how well it did as I do not care for Scarjo & have never understood her appeal. I adore Emma & I feel she has a better position as she is an Oscar winner, I still don’t see her joining in as her film was Disney straight not Marvel Disney. (Interesting Scarjo didn’t sue Marvel)

    I have worked for the mouse before (architecturally) & they are a straight up monster. They are a crooked bully but you KNOW this going into business with them. We have seen articles where perfectly healthy children have died on their rides for Disney’s medical staff (yes they have one) say the child had an “undiagnosed heart condition & after first adamantly disagreeing the family eventually capitulates (payment in hand, confidentiality sealed)

    I wish Scarjo well but if she jousts w/the mouse she better make a clean hit. They own so much & ending her career would be as easy as brushing crumbs from a table.

  7. TIFFANY says:

    Was Cruella a big hit though? Wasn’t the budget somewhere around 200 million?

    Disney very much has numbers and they might not be in Emma’s favor.

  8. Merricat says:

    I hope a human tidal wave rises to knock Disney off its empire.

    • Sal says:

      Agreed. I’ll never get over the fact that Disney and John Cena cowed to China, an abusive, authoritarian regime, over comments about Taiwan. That sets up a bad precedent for human rights all over the world. What they are doing to Hong Kong is unforgivable.

      • Starkille says:

        Well considering Disney hails from a country that was fine with an abusive authoritarian regime of its own until about nine months ago, not sure why you’d be surprised.

  9. lucy2 says:

    That awful, awful statement Disney put out is probably not helping, if I were Emma and saw that, I’d be calling my lawyer too.
    I hope this ends up costing Disney way more than if they had just paid out the bonuses.

  10. AmB says:

    Assuming the talent had decent agents on the job, is the issue that Disney had streaming in their back pocket all along and didn’t negotiate in good faith? That they agreed to back end of *box office* but streaming wasn’t covered in that?

    • Becks1 says:

      So as I’m following this, the specific issue here is the same-day release to PA for Black Widow. Scarlett is saying because Disney released it the same day, it hurt the box office results, especially the second weekend, and that directly impacts her bonuses and potential earnings. She may get a certain percentage based on streaming (I don’t think so based on these articles but maybe) but even if she does, presumably its nowhere near what she would have gotten had the movie been a theater-only release. And even if she did have a clause in her contract about streaming, it probably didn’t factor in Premier Access because that wasnt really a thing back when she and disney signed this contract. So her issue is that the same-day streaming hurt her potential earnings and Disney still made money bc of the premier access.

      So for Disney, PA is a way to still make money off a movie even during the pandemic (and it must be lucrative or else they wouldn’t keep doing it for these big movies) but the stars aren’t seeing any of that.

  11. Erin says:

    So refreshing to see these actors and actresses throw their weight around and fight for what they deserve. Hope they really hurt these greedy production companies in the court of public opinion and the actual courtroom. If nothing else they can afford to be honest

  12. Steph says:

    I guess I’m
    Still having trouble rooting for anyone in this situation bc I’m stuck on the amount of money that could be used for something worthwhile in our country while it’s still in the middle of a pandemic! Like, why care about million and billionaires improving their personal worth when the world is literally burning.

    If I were ScarJo, I’d be fighting for the rest of
    The cast and crew to get the bigger paycheck. She has enough money for 10 generations.

  13. Theothermia says:

    Even in the most rarified circles, women are still fighting to be paid their due 🙄

    Imagine how much more energy we’d have if we didn’t have to defend ourselves (financially and otherwise) all the time.

  14. Robert says:

    I keep hearing everybody talk about this being the start of the end for Disney. Has anybody thought that maybe this is the end of the backend deals. Disney may not ever do that again. They will just pay upfront. And if the actor doesn’t like it they will get someone else. And once Disney starts you know the other studios will do it also. I’m not saying Scarlet shouldn’t sue. But I am saying that the actors need the studios more than the studios need the actors. Every bus and plane that lands in Hollywood is filled with people wanting to be actors. Disney has always been known to screw over everybody. But they still put out more content than almost anybody else.

  15. Als says:

    Either way, the decision to sue was ultimely ScarJo’s and it is a tough one. She has some balls.