Arbitration for Black Widow
Disney has filed a motion for private arbitration for the Black Widow lawsuit.
This means they’d rather argue behind closed doors.
In the documents obtained by USA Today, Disney’s attorney Daniel Petrocelli argues that binding arbitration was specified in the contract to settle any disputes.
Scarlett Johannson has filed the lawsuit against Disney under her company, Periwinkle Entertainment. She is arguing that Disney breached her contract when they released “Black Widow” on Disney+ at the same time as it was released in theaters.
Wide or exclusive release?
Disney is arguing that the lawsuit has no merit. This is their first court filing – but they’ve been using the media to make this argument since Scarlett filed the lawsuit on July 29.
According to Friday’s court filing, Disney is arguing that the contract specifies “wide theatrical release” of “Black Widow.” Not an exclusive release to theaters.
Box office numbers
Pertrocelli included box office numbers in the court filing. The opening weekend revenue from theaters and Disney+ Premiere Access was more than $135 million.
This exceeded other Marvel films released before the pandemic, including “Thor: The Dark World” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
In fact, “Black Widow” is approaching $500 million in revenue – with $125 million coming from Disney+ alone.
Next steps in the lawsuit
But Johannson’s legal team is pressing on. This is their response to Friday’s filing for private arbitration for Black Widow:
“Disney is now, predictably, trying to hide its misconduct in a confidential arbitration,” Johansson’s attorney John Berlinski told USA TODAY in a statement. “Why is Disney so afraid of litigating this case in public?”
The first hearing for this case is scheduled for October 15 in Los Angeles Superior Court.
No more Scarlett?
This lawsuit has certainly soured the relationship between Disney and actress Scarlett Johannson.
Weeks before the lawsuit was filed, she was interviewed by Fatherly. In that interview, she stated:
“I have no plans to return as Natasha. I feel really satisfied with this film. It feels like a great way to go out for this chapter of my Marvel identity.
I would love to be able to continue to collaborate with Marvel in other ways because I think there’s just an incredible wealth of stories there.”
Not sure I see further collaboration on the horizon …
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