Disney Headlines for August 1, 2021
What were the major Disney Headlines for the week? Let’s be honest. If you had internet access, you know. You probably even tweeted about it.
So, let’s talk about all the things you already know. Here are the Disney Headlines for one of the company’s most perplexing weeks ever.
Black Widow Takes on Her Scariest Foe
The box office for Black Widow has turned into a toxic conversation for any number of reasons. It’s received negative headlines for a couple of weeks now.
The most notable example occurred when the National Association of Theatre Owners attacked Disney over its Premier Access model.
Yes, that’s the one that allowed you to watch Jungle Cruise at home this weekend rather than in a movie theater…if you wanted.
Disney+ gives you the choice, although Disney’s perfectly happy if you watch The Rock and Emily Blunt in a movie theater, too.
Alas, Scarlett Johansson, the star of Black Widow, feels differently on the subject. Her contract, the one that she signed before Coronavirus, has a flaw.
Johansson doesn’t receive any money from the Disney+ sales. Instead, her contract only provides incentives for global box office performance.
Virtually all Hollywood analysts agree that Premier Access hurts box office at least some. Some people choose to stay home to watch instead of going to the theater.
Now, a heated debate exists over the degree that Premier Access impacts box office revenue. Still, Johansson’s camp believes it’s extensive.
The actress hired a law firm to sue Disney, claiming that the Disney+ release didn’t meet the contractual obligation.
Disney promised a “wide theatrical release” with a definition of “no less than 1,500 screens.” You can read a decent legal breakdown in this thread:
ScarJo complaint here. This is one of those breach of contract claims that should be a law-school example for years to come. The parties are arguing about whether the contract's requirement that Black Widow be given a "wide theatrical release" precluded simultaneous streaming https://t.co/uQ980Ld5Gr pic.twitter.com/QErmRR7umB
— Akiva Cohen (@AkivaMCohen) July 30, 2021
The gist is that Johansson believes that she could have earned $50 million if Black Widow had received its promised theatrical release, an exclusive one.
Meanwhile, Marvel’s boss, Kevin Feige, is reportedly “angry and embarrassed” over the entire situation.
— IGN (@IGN) July 30, 2021
He campaigned behind the scenes for Disney to make good with Johansson.
So, that’s where we’re at with the story. I bet it comes up again in Disney Headlines.
Masks Are Back
First of all, if you or a family member have recently contracted COVID-19, please know that we wish the best for you and yours.
The Disney theme park part of this conversation feels comparatively trivial, but that’s what we do here.
As you’ve undoubtedly heard, the Delta variant has caused cases to spike recently. An internal CDC report suggests that it’s “as contagious as chickenpox.”
Breaking News: The Delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox and may be spread by vaccinated people as easily as the unvaccinated, an internal C.D.C. report said.https://t.co/hDs1FOIPMt
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 30, 2021
Thankfully, vaccinated people remain statistically unlikely to suffer severe illness from the disease. Unfortunately, they can spread it to the unvaccinated.
As such, the CDC has requested rollbacks on pandemic measures. Right now, we’re roughly in the same spot as we were in early June, only with more cases.
How troublesome is the problem? That answer depends on where you live, just like March of 2020.
Florida regrettably claims an outsized number of cases, though.
According to News4Jax, “nearly 25% of all COVID-19 cases in the US in the last seven days were in Florida.”
COVID-19 infections in Florida and Jacksonville increased in the past seven days at the fastest rate since the pandemic reached the state last year. https://t.co/8GOiRjWvMT
— News4JAX (@wjxt4) July 30, 2021
The state also reported its highest week-to-week increase since the start of the pandemic. Florida listed 110,477 cases over seven days.
Understandably, the Mayor of Orange County, Florida, declared another state of emergency and requested that theme parks reinstate face mask requirements.
The Mayor and the Governor of Florida haven’t always seen eye to eye on this topic, but Disney has remained above the political fray.
Instead, Disney has followed the CDC’s recommendations. As such, nobody acted surprised when the company announced that it would honor a recent request.
The other day, the CDC suggested that people wear face coverings indoors again, just as was the case throughout the pandemic until June.
So, Disneyland and Walt Disney World restored the previous face mask policies in place from mid-June until late July. They’re already in effect.
Disney Also Changes Company Policy
Obviously, the turmoil caused by COVID-19 outbreaks isn’t ideal for a business.
For the body of calendar 2021, companies have generally shied away from the topic of vaccination. A de facto don’t ask, don’t tell policy remained in effect.
Well, the tide turned on that topic right ahead the time that the United States exploded in cases in July.
Now, many companies, especially those in the tech and retail industries, are changing their tune.
Facebook and Google both declared this past week that workers must prove their vaccination status before they can return to the office.
Since companies are asking many employees to come back to work, that means the choices are taking the shots or find a new job.
For Disney, the situation comes with added complexity. Many cast members are in unions, which prevents the company from implementing a single policy.
Instead, Disney just announced that all salaried and non-union hourly employees in the United States must prove vaccination.
Otherwise, they will not be allowed to return to the office. Disney will give these workers 60 days to comply.
The company has also opened dialogue with unions to reach an agreement with those employees too.
Since it’s in everyone’s best interest for a high volume of people to take the vaccine, Disney expects the unions to agree as well.
So, by the end of September, most Disney employees will be fully vaccinated. The rest must seek new employment or request to work from home permanently.
For some cast members, especially those at the theme parks, working from home isn’t possible. It’s an either/or for them.
Folks, a lot can change in a month, and Disney just proved that with several of its pandemic-related decisions.
Okay, this week’s Headlines are a bummer. So, here’s this: