Scarlett Johansson sues Disney over ‘Black Widow’ release


Disney eventually decided to release multiple major movies simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ Premiere Access, citing the ongoing coronavirus threat. It used the strategy in May”Cruella”, which starred Emma Stone and went on to gross $221 million worldwide. (Disney has kept Disney+ revenue for “Cruella” a secret.) On Friday, Disney will give “Cruella” the same treatment.Jungle Cruise,” a comic adventure starring Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson. It is not known whether Ms. Stone, Ms. Blunt or Mr. Johnson reneged on their contracts with Disney as a result.

In December, WarnerMedia abruptly announced that more than a dozen Warner Bros. movies — the studio’s full 2021 slate — would each arrive in theaters and on HBO Max. The decision caused outrage among the major stars and their agents over a possible loss of box office-related compensation, forcing Warner Bros. to make new deals. It eventually paid about $200 million to quell the rebellion.

The deeper question is: if old-line studios are no longer trying to maximize the box office for each film, but are instead shifting to a hybrid model, where success is partly ticket sales and partly sold-out. Measured by the number of streaming subscriptions, that means how do stars get paid – and where do they make their movies?

The traditional model, which studios have used for decades to land high-profile film deals, involves paying small fees upfront and then sharing a portion of the revenue from ticket sales. The bigger the hit, the bigger the “back end” payout for some actors, directors and producers.

The streaming giants have done it differently. They pay more upfront in exchange for any back-end payments — usually much, much higher — which gives them complete control over future revenue. This means that people get paid as if their projects are a hit before they are released (or even made).

Ms Johansson’s lawsuit prompted Disney Chief Executive Bob Chapek and Disney President Robert A. Iger was also targeted directly, citing a stock grant given as a reward for building Disney+, which has more than 100 million subscribers worldwide. “Disney’s financial disclosures make it clear that Disney executives who carried out this strategy would personally benefit from their and Disney’s misconduct,” the complaint said.

According to the suit, Ms. Johansson’s representatives have contacted Disney and Marvel in recent months requesting them to renegotiate their contract. “Disney and Marvel largely ignored Ms Johansson,” the suit said.



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