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For a couple of months Hollywood was immersed in a judicial scandal after an actress’ lawsuit to her employer. Scarlett Johansson presented a judicial brief against Disney when feeling economically disadvantaged after the company launched Black Widow, the movie he starred in, on streaming at the same time as in theaters. After the company statement in which he said that the interpreter had a “callous contempt”Due to the context of the global health crisis, the CEO of the company suggested that they are starting to modify the way in which they structure the contracts.
Bob Chapek spoke during the annual Communacopia conference of Goldman Sachs, where he expressed that the most important capital that Disney has are “The talents.” “Disney has a long history of very symbiotic and cooperative agreements with talents, something we will continue to do. Certainly the world is changing, and agreements in the future they will have to reflect that fact ”, he launched.
Then, he expanded the concept around the expected profit for the box office of a film, something that due to the appearance of streaming and the restrictions due to the pandemic that still persist, was reduced. “We are at a time when movies were conceived under an understanding of what the world would be like, because frankly, not much had changed back then. Those films had been made with contracts that were closed three or four years ago ”, he explained, about the context of what was agreed with Johansson and other interpreters.
Chapek also analyzed the way the viewer sees the content, something that modifies the rules of the game. “(Those movies) are released in the middle of a pandemic where a second dynamic is accelerating, which is this changing consumer behavior. So we are putting a square peg in a round hole right now where we have a conceived arrangement under a certain set of conditions, which actually results in a movie that launches under a set of conditions completely different ”, he specified.
The executive asked for “a break” to be able to “think” in how the administrative scaffolding is restructured in the face of the new scenario. “Right now we have this kind of middle position, where we are trying to do the right thing with the talents, I think they are trying to get it right with us and we’re just figuring out how to close the gap. Ultimately, we believe that they are our most important asset, and we will continue to believe it, and as we have always done, we will compensate them fairly according to the terms of the contract that they agreed with us, “he defined.
The words of the boss of Disney they toned down a dispute that had started in a tumultuous way. Following Johansson’s lawsuit, Disney had published in Variety a lapidary statement in which he had ensured that the actress’s request for breach of contract it had “no foundation.”
“It is especially sad and distressing in its cruel indifference to horrible effects, prolonged and global effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Disney fully honored Johansson’s contract. What’s more, the premiere of Black Widow on Disney + with premium access significantly expanded his ability to earn additional compensation over and above the $ 20 million he received to date, ”the text added.
The fight started after the box office numbers of the Marvel film had a a crash during the second week of release. This happened because millions of people saw it from their homes. First the big theater operators complained and then the interpreter, who went for more and started a lawsuit.
In the brief presented in a Los Angeles court, Johansson pointed directly to Disney’s strategy of circumventing what it had signed in the contract with the actress. “Disney was well aware of this promise, but still gave instructions to Marvel to violate the arrangement. The company intentionally induced the breach of contract by Marvel, without justification, in order to prevent it from obtaining the full benefits of the agreement, “he launched.
Johansson, in addition to being the protagonist, is one of the producers of Black Widow. Directed by Cate Shortland the film obtained in the first week of premiere 80 million dollars at the box office in the United States and Canada, the best launch of the pandemic. Also, that number got stronger with the 78 million of dollars that it took out internationally.
But the detail that happened later had to do with streaming. Disney published that the film that tells part of the origin of the character of Natasha Romanoff had a profit of $ 60 million extra for the tickets sold on its platform. This caused the beginning of the conflict.
John Berlinski, one of the actress’s lawyers, had anticipated The Wall Street Journal that the judicial procedure raised by Johansson could generate a modification in what was established within the industry. “This will surely not be the last case where Hollywood artists confront Disney and make it clear that whatever the company intends to do, it has a legal obligation to fulfill its contracts, “he had commented.
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