It could all have been so beautiful. After more than 10 years of service at Marvel, Scarlett Johansson is celebrating the swan song of her Avengers character with Black Widow, Marvel fans can review their best and worst MCU moments and everyone is dancing happily into the superhero sunset. But that’s not how it happened: Shortly after the theatrical release, Johansson sued Disney for breach of contract. What happened?
Scarlett Johansson and Disney have a heated battle over Black Widow
The core of the lawsuit was money – a lot of money: According to Johansson’s lawyers, Disney had promised the actress an exclusive Black Widow release in theaters, but then released the film on Disney + at the same time. Since Johansson, as the star of the Marvel Cinematic Universe hit, was contractually involved in the cinema revenues, this strategy could have hurt her financially: Some sources (via Variety ) speak of one $ 50 million loss.
Scarlett Johansson fights with Disney
The publishing strategy in itself is no more surprises in the Corona period: Ever since producer Warner announced last December that he wanted to release Wonder Woman in both the cinema and the stream in 1984, examples of this double tactic have been increasing. Disney blockbusters such as Cruella with Emma Stone and, most recently, Jungle Cruise with Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson were published in the same way.
But while Warner offered, for example, Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot compensation for the cinema revenues, which were presumably undermined by the simultaneous streaming start, Disney made no concessions. On the contrary, the decision to launch Disney + at the same time is fiercely defended.
Disney’s response to Scarlett Johansson is brutal
Because in the reaction of the mouse company (via Variety ) there was no trace of understanding or even giving in. The complaint is “without value“,”Sad” and “terrifying in their heartless ignorance of the consequences of the corona pandemic“.
Disney’s response to Johansson’s complaint is unusually violent
The tone of voice is unusual for a legal dispute between actors: in and in the studio, which are often settled for the benefit of both parties with as little fuss as possible. It seems as if the unassailable Disney colossus is suddenly more about principle than about public opinion. Suddenly the rules seem to be different and a precedent is looming that could change Hollywood for decades.
Scarlett Johansson’s fight with Disney heralds a Hollywood revolution
In the end, such a legal battle seemed more or less unthinkable. Few actors with a penchant for careers would have seriously wanted to take on the world’s most successful production studio. For most it would be been a fight of David against several Goliaths.
But thanks to Johansson’s complaint, these proportions no longer seem so clear. With Scarlett Johansson, one of the greatest Hollywood actresses of our time has stood in the way of the mouse company. she is immensely successful, excellently networked and one of the few MCU stars not to appear
reliant: Apart from her Black Widow career, she has been a celebrated actress for decades. Many of her friends – such as Bryan Lourd, head of her talent agency – are considered to be Hollywood key figures.
Also reportedly considering legal action: Emily Blunt
Although the overwhelming power of the Disney group is indisputable, support for Johansson seems to be spreading, especially among the first group of spotlights. According to a report (via Screenrant ) Her fellow actors Emma Stone and Emily Blunt are also considering legal action vs Disney – they’re about Cruella and Jungle Cruise, but the reason is the same.
For the first time, the streaming tactics of the big film companies now seem to be on the test stand, which previously seemed inviolable: the studios seemed too overpowering, the calculation of streaming profits and too unassailable the constant state of emergency is too grueling between pandemic fear, postponements and closed cinemas.
How will the Black Widow fight between Disney and Scarlet Johansson end?
That even Marvel guru Kevin Feige is apparently “angry” at Disney over the legal battle (via Screenrant ) shows what a rift is currently running through Hollywood – and thus the cinema landscape at least in the western world. The consequences could change the way we watch movies in the long run.
Does Emma Stone want to sue too?
Should Disney be able to crush the lawsuit, the dam for the cinema streaming double tactic would be broken once and for all. It is to be expected that even after the end of the pandemic, big blockbusters will be published in two ways. A victory for Disney would also banish the previous concessions made by the studios to actors or cinemas, possibly into the realm of the past.
In contrast, many Marvel fans are currently hoping for Johansson’s triumph. Many compare litigation to that Sinking of the Studio systems in the golden era of Hollywood 1940s and 50s, when companies like Warner had a say in every part of film production and had great power over the careers of their stars. Back then, too, it was mainly female actresses like Olivia de Havilland and Bette Davis who complained against the studios’ monopoly of power and thus changed Hollywood forever.
The future of Hollywood is difficult to predict
If Johansson sues successfully, a successful first-time theatrical exploitation could gain weight again at the studios compared to the streaming publication. The stars would benefit first and foremost, but of course the cinemas too. The legal dispute would be a warning to all studios to strictly comply with the statutes of the contracts in the future.
the But the Black Widow war won’t break the power of the big studios – for that the publication channels have simply multiplied too rapidly and too profitably compared to the 1940s. However, should Scarlett Johansson sue for her profit sharing, it should be a lesson for many studios: The creative minds also have a say in the streaming revolution.
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