Disney CEO “Resetting” Talent Deals after ScarJo Lawsuit

Everyone needs to thank Scarlett Johansson. Her much-talked-about lawsuit has now made Disney cave and announce that they will be changing the talents’ contracts for the better.

Marvel’s Black Widow was supposed to reignite the box office during the pandemic. But it did more than that—it set fire to existing contracts between talents and their film companies.

This all started when Scarlett Johansson brought to light that her deal with Disney was for a theatre-exclusive release. But with the simultaneous debut on Disney+, the actor lost out on millions of box office bonuses promised to her. On top of this, Disney shut her out when she approached them on the matter.

Disney CEO Resetting Talent Deals After ScarJo Lawsuit
Scarlett Johansson

And thereafter, followed the infamous lawsuit. Both parties went back and forth in disagreement, most of which was not privy to the public.

But it seems that Johansson may have gained the upper hand—At Goldman Sachs’ 30th annual Communacopia Conference, Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek announced that the company would indeed be making changes to contracts henceforth.

Right now we have this sort of middle position, where we’re trying to do right by the talent, I think the talent is trying to do right by us, and we’re just figuring out our way to bridge the gap. Ultimately, we believe our talent is our most important asset, and we’ll continue to believe that, and as we always have, we’ll compensate them fairly per the terms of the contract that they agreed to us with.

Bob Chapek

Let’s be clear: This isn’t Disney admitting they were wrong. Bowing down to the talent ultimately came with a preface that stated these contracts were made 3-4 years ago when the world was “normal.”

And as film studios have never faced the circumstances of the pandemic before, it’s difficult for them to have the right solution in the first go.

Disney CEO Resetting Talent Deals After ScarJo Lawsuit
Bob Chapek

Johansson’s frustration expressed in the lawsuit was experienced by many others, which earlier in the year had led to Warner Bros immediately compensating their own talent.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again—Disney could’ve come to the same solution a long time ago. But better late than never, eh?

The pandemic will have its cycles of ups and downs, and film companies will have to accept that this instability is the “new normal.” This will mean that both old and new contracts will have to take all factors into consideration if they really want to do it right by the talent.

Johansson may have secured a victory for the rest but is herself still battling it out with Disney, whose latest move in August tried to get her lawsuit in confidential arbitration, that is, legally not allowing any details to be out in public.

We hope that Chapek’s statement means that contract revisions and compensations will also be reflected in the lawsuit. If not, Johansson will certainly ensure it does.

Epic Dope Staff

Epic Dope Staff

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