Disney Slams Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow Lawsuit
Last week, Scarlett Johansson filed a lawsuit against Walt Disney Pictures that alleged Black Widow‘s simultaneous release on Disney+ and in theaters breached her contract. Additionally, Disney’s PR team came out swinging in its response. Disney’s statement went so far as to claim that Johansson’s lawsuit showed a “callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Via Variety, Disney attorney Daniel Petrocelli went even further by suggesting that the entire lawsuit was simply an “orchestrated PR campaign.”
“It is obvious that this is a highly orchestrated PR campaign to achieve an outcome that is not obtainable in the lawsuit,” said Petrocelli. “No amount of public pressure can change or obscure the explicit contractual commitments. The written contract is clear as a bell.”
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Petrocelli also contended that the Disney+ Premier Access purchase will count towards Black Widow‘s box office total. In turn, that would mean that it counts towards Johansson’s contract as well.
“We treated Disney Premier Access (revenue) like box office for the purposes of the bonus requirements in the contract,” said Petrocelli. “That only enhanced the economics for Ms. Johansson.”
It’s entirely possible that this language is in Johnson’s contract. Regardless, it doesn’t account for piracy or Disney+ purchases depressing the film’s box office. Those are issues that could also be raised if the case comes to court. However, there is some question as to whether that will actually happen. That’s because Petrocelli also confirmed that Johansson’s contract with Marvel Studios calls for arbitration for any disputes. Filing suit against Marvel’s corporate parent may be an attempt to sidestep that.
Johansson’s attorneys will almost certainly respond to these statements, either in court or in the court of public opinion. So for now, the drama continues.
What do you think about the latest developments in this case? Which side do you think will prevail? Let us know in the comment section below!
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