Disney Responds to Scarlett Johansson Lawsuit, Will Other Stars Follow?

Disney Responds to Scarlett Johansson Lawsuit, Will Other Stars Follow?

After Scarlett Johansson filed a lawsuit last week over her new Marvel Cinematic Universe movie being released simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ Premiere Access, Disney has responded to her claims, deeming them to be frivolous and offensive.

New York Times reporter Brooke Barnes shared the company’s full statement on Twitter: “There is no merit whatsoever to this filing. The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Disney has fully complied with Ms. Johansson’s contract and furthermore, the release of Black Widow on Disney+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date.” Johansson’s agent Bryan Lourd responded with an equally harsh statement that underlined Johansson being “Disney’s partner on nine movies, which have earned Disney and its shareholders billions.”

This is likely just the start of such legal battles since other big-name stars have similar projects that have ended up in the same situations. Chief among them are Emma Stone, whose Cruella debuted at the end of May, and Emily Blunt, who stars in Jungle Cruise, which just had its opening weekend. Former Hollywood Reporter editor Matthew Belloni reports in his newsletter What I’m Hearing that Stone is “said to be weighing her options” and Blunt was “likely watching the Jungle Cruise numbers closely” over this past weekend. Blunt was already involved in a film’s modified release plan after A Quiet Place Part II, which was set to open right as the pandemic hit, ended up going to streaming a full 45 days earlier than normal once it was finally released.

Variety quoted a Hollywood talent agent sympathetic to Johansson who shared “Good for her. A lot of other actors are cheering for Scarlett and rooting her on. She has a lot of power and that makes this a visible conversation that puts Disney on the spot. By doing all of this in public, she might be able to change the rulebook.” Alec Baldwin has also indicated support for Johansson on Twitter. Another industry veteran Variety spoke to was surprised that the situation got to a lawsuit, indicating that “Disney does not want to get in a fight with Scarlett Johansson.”

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