30 July 2021 501 Views

Scar-Jo vs Disney. Whoever wins, we snooze.

by James Murphy

It’s about contract law. N shit..

Scarletttt johannnnzzzssssonnnn is filing against Disney. Because they moved to a joint home viewing /cinema release for BLACK WIDOW, prematurely, thereby reducing monies she could have made under her sub-contract with Marvel Studios.

She has a solid case, on PRINCIPLE. Contract is a contract is a contract, right? Yes. Whether Scar-Jo is made of cash or not, if house of mouse promised optimal exposure to a movie and failed in that duty? Then there is a case to answer.

All respondents of course have equal right to repel a case thrown at them. And in that spirit? Disney lawyers MIGHT, just MIGHT..go to these sorts of areas (nb this is not legal advice: just speculation). 

  • Force Majeure: Whether as implicit application of law or specific clause? A party should be protected from after the event liability if it was simply not possible to execute a contractual promise.
  • As in, events, intervening, beyond the control of the parties. Such as..ooo..i Dunno..killer virus /uncertain duration on its hold / wake / control?

  • Disney had to delay BLACK WIDOW. In a bid to in fact compensate for rather than ignore the fallout from the prolonged wait, they went ‘belt and braces’ with a double release, on video and in cinemas.
  • IE: The virus and its impact, neither of which were reasonably foreseeable, prevented execution of the solely cinematic release.
  • Disney took ‘every effort’ (a test), one could argue, to mitigate the loss THROUGH the two format strategy. Which is why they saw little need to return Ms Scar-Jo’s calls for renegotiation.

Now: As stated, a player, on a box office profit share deal, still has both principled and practical rationale to sue, having lost out. No value judgements here, even if she gives me a giant pain as Black Widow. I find Scarlett entirely unconvincing in any kind of action role, let alone super-heroic ones. Loved her earlier work, though. Nothing personal.

I cannot begrudge her legal principle /application here. Anything that challenges corporate oversight is to be welcomed. Except, bizarrely? Disney = underdog (under-mouse?), here. They are expected to lose the argument via internet fan rule as much as through any legal authority. So I kinda feel sorry for them. Almost. 😉

One final possible go to is the ‘but for’ test. Would BLACK WIDOW actually be raking in close to a BILLION, but for the home release? Needs empirical metrics which are next to impossible for what is a judgement on hypotheticals.

The film is underperforming, nevertheless. And has not, it seems, earned quite the level of love it expected /demanded. It was made a decade too late and (imho) was marketed with contempt for its own super-hero Tony Stark built universe. And it makes a joke about a young girl having her sexual organs removed. THINK ABOUT THAT.

So to my mind, not only did this movie deserve to flop, on principle? The facts, applied to that, AND the law..might..just MIGHT..be on Disney’s side? Because I suspect BLACK WIDOW would tank under any circumstances, even in cinemas, only. 

But hey, could go either way. And few us lose sleep over Scar-Jo’s finances or Disney’s legal optics, right?

 



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