Things are heating up between Disney and Scarlett Johansson! In the latest update on the ongoing lawsuit, it turns out the House of Mouse did not appreciate the 36-year-old actress bringing their dispute to the public and is now trying to force the whole thing to go behind closed doors immediately.
As you may recall, Johnasson rocked the entertainment industry on July 29 when she filed a lawsuit against Disney. In her complaint, she argued that the media conglomerate had breached her contract for Black Widow by releasing the film simultaneously to Disney+ and traditional theaters, thus costing her potentially millions of dollars in revenue. Her agreement with Disney supposedly guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release with her salary contingent on the box office performance. However, COVID-19 obviously f**ked that up and forced the company to get creative with their upcoming projects.
Upon hearing the news, Disney publicly responded by claiming that Johansson already cashed in a $20 million paycheck and called the suit “sad and distressing” in light of the pandemic. A shocking response — especially when most assumed they would have handled the legal matter privately. However, it seems like Disney now wants to head down a different path…
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney wants to avoid a trial by demanding in a late-night filing to the Superior Court of Los Angeles on Friday that the lawsuit be moved to arbitration. The suit also dished out some harsh words for Johansson and her legal team in the document, saying:
“In a futile effort to evade this unavoidable result (and generate publicity through a public filing), Periwinkle excluded Marvel as a party to this lawsuit — substituting instead its parent company Disney under contract-interference theories. But longstanding principles do not permit such gamesmanship.”
DAMN! That is brutal!
Per Deadline, Disney claimed that nowhere in the contract did it say that the picture’s release had to be exclusive to theaters, stating:
“Although Marvel and Disney share Periwinkle’s frustration with the challenges associated with releasing films during an ever-shifting public-health crisis, Periwinkle’s claims that Marvel breached the Agreement and Disney induced that breach or otherwise interfered with the Agreement have no merit. There is nothing in the Agreement requiring that a ‘wide theatrical release’ also be an ‘exclusive’ theatrical release. The contract does not mandate theatrical distribution — let alone require that any such distribution be exclusive.”
Their attorneys then argued that Black Widow was played on over 9,000 screens in the country, which allegedly satisfied their obligation to show the movie on no less than 1,500 screens. Additionally, the court documents stated that the film made over $367 million worldwide at the box office and $125 million in streaming. Disney compared the release to other Marvel films, saying that the opening weekend was “more than that of many other Marvel Cinematic Universe films, including Thor: The Dark World; Ant-Man; Ant-Man and the Wasp; and Guardians of the Galaxy.” And to top it off, the lawyers claimed that despite the pandemic, the company still “made good on its promises.”
That’s debatable in the eyes of the new momma! We will have to see how those arguments hold up in the next phase of their legal dispute.
Since then, Johansson has responded through her attorney on Saturday, slamming Disney for the “misogynistic attack” and “trying to hide its misconduct” with a request to move to arbitration. John Berlinski said in a statement to Deadline:
“After initially responding to this litigation with a misogynistic attack against Scarlett Johansson, Disney is now, predictably, trying to hide its misconduct in a confidential arbitration. Why is Disney so afraid of litigating this case in public?”
It does sound kind of fishy…
“Because it knows that Marvel’s promises to give ‘Black Widow’ a typical theatrical release ‘like its other films’ had everything to do with guaranteeing that Disney wouldn’t cannibalize box office receipts in order to boost Disney+ subscriptions. Yet that is exactly what happened — and we look forward to presenting the overwhelming evidence that proves it.”
We will have to wait and see what happens, Perezcious readers! But one thing we do know with this messy lawsuit is that in the court of public opinion, people seem to be Team Scarlett. So Disney may want to cool it with these savage clap backs! Reactions to this latest update in ScarJo’s lawsuit? Let us know in the comments (below)!
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