Thursday, American actress Scarlett Johansson lawsuit The Walt Disney Company for the release of the film Black Widow Simultaneously in theaters and on the Disney + streaming platform, which prevented her from earning several million dollars that she would have received from rewards related to tickets sold in the halls. Accused by Johansson of wanting to enrich himself at his own expense, Disney in turn accused the actress of “unwisely disregarding” the global consequences of the pandemic, reporting in a somewhat unusual way the compensation it has collected so far for the title role.
Black Widow Directed by director Kate Shortland and it is the eighth film in which Johansson plays the role of Black Widow, one of the most recognizable characters among the famous Marvel superheroes. It was originally supposed to hit theaters in May 2020, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, it has been postponed three times and finally shown on July 9, both in theaters and on Disney+.
according tosummon command – Of which The Wall Street Journal Johansson’s contract with Disney specified that the film must be released exclusively “in at least 1,500 cinemas” for at least 90-120 days: so, by making it immediately available on Disney+, the company would be in breach of the agreements. Johansson’s lawyers argued that this decision “significantly reduced box office revenue”, and also significantly affected Johansson’s compensation.
Two people know the terms of the contract and that talk to The New York Times On the condition of anonymity, they said that because of this decision Johansson could lose up to $50 million, an amount he would have earned if the movie had been shown exclusively in theaters before it was made available online and in the event that he would have earned about $1 billion in dollars in receipts. .
Among other things, Johansson accused Disney of “wanting to rob audiences from movie theaters to lure them into its streaming channel” with the aim of increasing the number of its users, “undermining the agreement” with it “to keep the revenue for itself” and enrich its officials. The actress’s lawyers added that requests to renegotiate the contract were ignored after the film was announced to be released simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+.
In the first weekend of its release Black Widow It has made $80 million in the United States and another 78 in the rest of the world (in total, more than 130 million euros). However, the overall result of the film in theaters is somewhat disappointing, since the recovery of the entire sector is very slow and exhausting: even films that usually bring hundreds of thousands of people to cinemas suffer from the consequences of this. epidemic and struggling to attract audiences in numbers similar to the pre-pandemic period.
the The New York Times Notice that so far Black Widow His gross earnings totaled around $327 million (€277 million), the lowest amount a Marvel movie has made since then Incredible Hulk, which in 2008 in the same time period earned $ 265 million, which today will be equivalent to about $ 335 million. Disney said that in the first weekend, revenue from watching the movie through its platform – with VIP access, $30 – was $60 million (€50 million), but it did not disclose how much of the total revenue was taken from the broadcast.
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However, the company claimed that it fully respected the contract with Johansson, and indeed said that the release of the film through its streaming platform “significantly increased” the actress’ chances of receiving additional compensation, in addition to her $20 million. He already got his work done. Disney said in a statement that Johansson’s lawsuit was “particularly distressing” because it did not take into account the “serious and protracted consequences of the global pandemic.”
that of Black Widow It’s not the only case where Disney has decided to release a movie in theaters and on its streaming platform at the same time. went the same way to Cruella, with Emma Stone, released in May, and for jungle trip, starring Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson, released July 28. It is currently not clear if these actors have renegotiated their contracts with Disney.
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