You knew this story was only going to get bigger with more details and more players weighing in on it.
Super talent agency CAA’s Co-Chairman Bryan Lourd is one of the first to step up and defend his client Scarlett Johansson against The Walt Disney Company’s response to her lawsuit.
The lawsuit Johansson filed against Disney states that Disney violated her agreement with Marvel Studios that BLACK WIDOW would get an exclusive theatrical release as part of her compensation for the film would be based on Box Office. They allege that Disney released the film on Disney+ day and date with the theatrical release to help grow the streaming service but also to pull a little Hollywood accounting moving revenue over to the streaming service side of the company to avoid paying out to Johansson and others the potential bonuses they were due.
Disney responded with a statement saying: “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.”
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. * 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.
This suit was filed as a result of Disney’s decision to knowingly violate Scarlett’s contract. They have very deliberately moved the revenue stream and profits to the Disney+ side of the company, leaving artistic and financial partners out of their new equation. That’s it, pure and simple. Disney’s direct attack on her character and all else they implied is beneath the company that many of us in the creative community have worked with successfully for decades.
As I said in the initial reporting on the lawsuit, this is going to get ugly and a LOT of major stars are calling their agents telling them to renegotiate deals that involve any kind of box office performance compensation deals.