Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow lawsuit wasn’t the only time she had to restructure a movie’s payment
Making movies in the age of a global pandemic is an ever-changing target. Between the state of the current pandemic and the various rules and regulations that vary across the world regarding this pandemic, figuring out how to release a movie still doesn’t have an easy answer. It even led to lawsuits when Scarlett Johansson has filed a lawsuit against Disney following the release of Black Widow. Finally, a new agreement was reached and the two parties have agreedand it turns out that something similar happened with the release of Sing 2 but without a real trial.
When Black Widow was released last summer, it was made as a double release, with the film opening in theaters and as a Premiere Access title on Disney+ at the same time. Eventually, Scarlett Johansson sued due to the fact that much of her compensation was tied to the film’s box office success and streaming damaged those receipts. Universal probably wanted to avoid such issues, so they restructured the deals for the Sing 2 voice cast, despite the film still having a dedicated theatrical release.
According to PuckUniversal Pictures, which distributed Sing 2restructured the compensation packages of Sing 2voice of, including Scarlett Johansson, Reese Witherspoon and Matthew McConaughey. This is something that maybe technically didn’t even need to be done, since Sing 2 got a standalone theatrical release, however, this exclusive only lasted around 17 days. At that time, the film was released on VOD platforms, although it was available for a $25 rental, which was a bit higher than comparable films at the time.
Many film productions balance their books by offering stars and other major players a percentage of the profits rather than a hefty commission up front. It’s a way to ensure that talent deals don’t eat up the movie’s entire budget. Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen several films have to renegotiate agreements when the movies haven’t been released theatrically at all, or they’ve alternated enough that the original deal no longer makes sense.
the Black Widow situation was unusual because, from what was said in the press, it seemed that there was little or no discussion before Black Widowthe exit about the restructuring of Scarlett Johansson’s deal. This led to the actress filing her lawsuit, which was eventually settled out of court.
Universal may have simply decided that it was better to strike a new deal than risk facing a potential lawsuit. In fgeneral, Disney didn’t end up being pretty in this whole conversation.
And now the toothpaste is out of the tube and it’s unclear if we’ll really go back to the old model. At least shortened theatrical windows seem to be the new norm now. And if that has an impact on the box office, the people who were counting on those numbers will need new offerings.