You are not without knowing the legal bombshell facing actress Scarlett Johansson and the giant of cinema and animated film Disney. The first actress of the character Black Widow in the MCU felt betrayed after Disney distributed the film of the same name both in theaters and on its streaming platform Disney +, where the actor’s contract only earned her a percentage of the movie tickets. A process that seems to be stalling every day. If they don’t achieve anything, the consequences for Marvel and the rest of the MCU could be disastrous. Explanation.
A process between ignorance and attack
From the start, Scarlett Johansson’s lawyers and advisers have said that Disney’s defense will now be ignored and attacked. This attempt is intended to be a forerunner for a new method of remuneration for actors when films are sold online directly via a paid subscription to a platform. If more people come to watch the film in streaming, the current price gives the actor a lower wage than if the viewer had bought a ticket. Companies get back most of the $ 30 subscription for 60% of the ticket price. So a big imbalance for the actors, and Scarlett Johansson wants to be the figurehead of this dispute.
Other players have managed to negotiate amicable agreements with the studios. Emma Stone, who plays the title role of the sequel to Cruella, received additional payment from Disney this summer to offset the film’s simultaneous theatrical and streaming release of the film, and she too has filed a lawsuit against Disney. WarnerMedia company has paid more than $ 200 million to keep its stars and directors to help offset this financial issue related to releases on the HBO Max platform. A struggle between the actors to safeguard their rights, which in their opinion are being damaged by the development of the media landscape.
What does this have to do with the MCU?
This conflict between the actress and Disney rubs off on Marvel politics. If the company has remained rather discreet in the debate through Kevin Feige (the Russo brothers did not want to comment either), he considers this to be bad news for the good progress of the MCU. In fact, when the global scenario was planned, it had been decided that the Disney + series, all of which were successful, would have to accompany the theatrical release of the team’s various films. Putting Black Widow on Disney + contradicts that approach on many levels.
This is also an issue as he doesn’t like the idea of seeing one of the few women-run Marvel movies downgraded on a streaming service, according to his relatives. There is no easy solution at hand. With Black Widow’s month-long delay, the Marvel timeline was turned upside down. Should no agreement be reached, a complete withdrawal of the character from the MCU, if not the actress, would be possible. Others could also follow the same route as Scarlett Johansson and leave the ship.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, the Russo Brothers behind Marvel’s two biggest box office hits (and secondarily, the world’s box office) are Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, a proposed dead-end adaptation of Marvel Secret Wars event. It’s understandable that the Russo brothers aren’t particularly fond of the idea of being subjected to the same system that pissed off Scarlett Johansson so much. It remains to be seen which of Disney and the Russo brothers will win the showdown.
What defense for Disney?
These negotiations are not new. Disney announced in March 2019 that Marvel releases would be available on Disney + immediately after the theaters. Scarlett Johansson’s team had asked the giant to guarantee that Black Widow would be spared. Disney cheated on both Scarlett and Marvel as the latter’s attorney said it was “100% plan to make a big theatrical release for Black Widow”. After the simultaneous release was announced, the actress received an offer of an additional $ 80 million based on a hypothetical worldwide box office of $ 1.2 billion.
This total is comparable to entries from other Marvel productions such as Captain Marvel and Black Panther. However, Black Widow lagged, hitting one of Marvel’s worst ratings with $ 371 million in sales. In this fight against Disney, whose argumentation is very fragile at the moment, Scarlett Johansson has received a lot of support. Elsewhere, studios have set up a 40-day system to distribute theatrical and theatrical releases. An idea that could be democratized as it is the average length of a movie, with the biggest profits coming in the first few weeks.