A new rumor claims that Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige is “angry and embarrassed” over Disney’s reaction to Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit.
Johansson sued The Walt Disney Company for “intentional interference with contractual relations and inducing breach of contract” in a the Superior Court for the State of California.
As for the intentional interference with contractual relations claim, the lawsuit specifically states that “Disney intentionally and improperly induced Marvel to breach its agreement with Plaintiff by releasing [Black Widow] on Disney+ simultaneously with its release in theatres, in violation of the Agreement which required a ‘theatrical release of the Picture’ as the parties understood that term at the time of contracting, meaning an exclusive theatrical release of the Picture.”
In the case of the inducing breach of contract, the lawsuit states, “Marvel breached the Agreement, including its implied covenants of good faith and fair dealing, by releasing the film on Disney+ simultaneously with its release in theaters, in violation of the Agreement which required a ‘theatrical release of the Picture’ as the parties understood that term at the time of contracting, meaning an exclusive theatrical release of the Picture.”
The lawsuit continued, “Disney intended to influence, direct, induce, or cause Marvel to commit the above-described breaches because Disney knew it would benefit from such breaches. Among other other benefits, Disney benefited by driving would-be-theatre-goers to its wholly owned streaming platform, Disney+, allowing Disney to profit not only from the $30 Premier Access fee for the Picture but also from the subscription revenue derived from customers who either subscribed for the first time or maintained their existing subscriptions in order to watch the Picture from their own homes the same day it was released in theatres.”
Johansson claims that “Disney acted with malice, oppression, or fraud, and in willful disregard of [her] rights and interests.”
Following the filing of the lawsuit, a Disney spokesman responded, “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.”
The spokesman added, “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 fired back, “I want to address the Walt Disney Company’s statement that was issued in response to the lawsuit filed against them yesterday by our client Scarlett Johansson. They have shamelessly and falsely accused Ms. Johansson of being insensitive to the global COVID pandemic, in an attempt to make her appear to be someone they and I know she isn’t.”
He added, “Scarlett has been Disney’s partner on nine movies, which have earned Disney and its shareholders billions. The company included her salary in their press statement in an attempt to weaponize her success as an artist and businesswoman, as if that were something she should be ashamed of. ”
“Scarlett is extremely proud of the work that she, and all of the actors, writers, directors, producers, and the Marvel creative team have been a part of for well over a decade,” Lourd concluded.
A joint statement would also be released by Women in Film, Los Angeles, ReFrame, and Time’s Up in defense of Johansson and described Disney’s resposne as a “gendered character attack.”
The statement reads, “While we take no position on the business issues in the litigation between Scarlett Johansson and The Walt Disney Company, we stand firmly against Disney’s recent statement which attempts to characterize Johansson as insensitive or selfish for defending her contractual business rights.”
It concluded, “This gendered character attack has no place in a business dispute and contributes to an environment in which women and girls are perceived as less able than men to protect their own interests without facing ad hominem criticism.”
Now, a new rumor claims that Kevin Feige is upset with Disney’s response and treatment of Scarlett Johansson as well.
Belloni wrote, “[Feige is] a company man, and prone to corporate showdowns or shouting matches. But I’m told he’s angry and embarrassed.”
“He lobbied Disney against the day-and-date plan for Black Widow, preferring the big screen exclusivity and not wanting to upset his talent,” Belloni added.
He also noted, “When the s**t hit the fan, the movie started tanking, and Johansson’s team threatened litigation, [Feige] wanted Disney to make this right with her.”
What do you make of this new rumor? Do you think Feige is “angry and embarrassed” by Disney’s actions?