“To maximize this revenue and thereby protect her financial interests, Ms. Johansson extracted a promise from Marvel that the release of the picture would be a ‘theatrical release’,” the lawsuit said. “As Ms. Johansson, Disney, Marvel, and most of the rest of Hollywood know, a ‘theatrical release’ is a release that is exclusive to theaters. Disney was aware of that promise, but directed Marvel to break its promise and release it instead The picture on the Disney + streaming service the same day it was released in theaters. “
“Disney has fully complied with Ms. Johansson’s contract and also, 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 improved, “a Disney spokesman said in a statement.
The suit comes at a pivotal moment for Hollywood as the pandemic has accelerated several trends at the same time. Streaming has become a Hollywood focal point as cinemas and the box office struggle to return to normal following a pandemic that has devastated their businesses.
While other studios had streaming and theatrical releases on the same day, the “Black Widow” message stood out because Marvel is the largest blockbuster brand in Hollywood, grossing nearly $ 23 billion in global box office since 2008.
“It’s no secret that Disney is releasing films like Black Widow directly on Disney + to get more subscribers and thereby boost the company’s share price – and that it is hiding behind Covid-19 as a pretext for doing so,” said John Berlinski, attorney for Johansson CNN business. “But ignoring the contracts of the artists responsible for the success of their films to promote this short-sighted strategy violates their rights and we look forward to proving it in court.”
He added that this “will certainly not be the last time Hollywood talents stand up against Disney and make it clear that whatever the company claims it is legally required to honor its contracts.”
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