As a follow-up to last week's post on the legal dispute between Disney and Scarlett Johansson regarding the profits split from The Black Widow film, the battle escalated this week.
Johansson continues to lead the charge on the movie industry's short-changing the stars on the release of movies on both the silver screen and stream on a day-and-date basis. Just in the past two weeks, Disney released 'Jungle Cruise' in tandem at cinemas and on Disney+. Warners did the same with 'The Suicide Squad' on HBO Max.
According to Disney's legal beagles' language in Johansson's contract claims it is the prerogative of the studio to decide how best to release a new film. However, the star's legal team claims Disney's decision to put 'The Black Widow' prequel on Disney+ cost her bonuses that would have been hit if the movie only had an exclusive theatrical window. There have been talks between the two sides but nothing has been agreed to and the battle continues.
This case is being closely followed by all sides of the industry, as it is the first time a star is pushing back on the simultaneous release scheme - which seems to benefit the studio at the cost of the actor. The Screen Actors Guild is siding with Johansson. In a press release, SAG stated, "We are deeply concerned by the gendered tone of Disney's criticism of Ms. Johansson. Women are not "callous" when they stand up and fight for fair pay - they are leaders and champions for economic parity."
Whatever the outcome, this case will set a precedent of how upcoming films will handle the profit sharing.