Disney losing its magic amidst lawsuits

Victoria Kirova, Features Editor

As the pandemic forced people to quarantine, online streaming services rapidly became the ideal source of entertainment. With the help of Disney+, individuals are able to watch the newest movies from their homes instead of going to the movie theatre. However, a recent turn of events led to Disney breaching contracts regarding these releases, inciting a chain of indignant actors who are suing the company.

The initial event that led to this confrontation was Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit against Disney. This occurred due to the news that her latest movie, “Black Widow,” would be available in theatres, as well as on Disney+. Johansson justified her decision by divulging that the details of her contract stated that the movie would only be available for theatrical release, since her salary greatly depended on the box-office success of it. 

Disney refuted her concern by stating that Johansson had a “callous disregard” for the pandemic’s effect on their decision when she decided to go through with her lawsuit. They also stated that by making the film available in both ways, her ability to receive a greater amount of money increased. However, according to The Wall Street Journal, this decision reportedly cost Johansson more than $50 million.

Following this event, other actors felt encouraged to speak out about their own similar experiences. An instance of this is Emma Stone, who also faced the consequences of Disney releasing her new movie, “Cruella,” on both Disney+ and in theatres. After speaking out about this, she is also allegedly looking to take legal action against Disney.

Similarly, Emily Blunt is yet another actress who is weighing her options and reportedly considering filing a lawsuit, after her movie, “Jungle Cruise,” was also released on the streaming service. 

There is even speculation that groups of people working for Pixar may file lawsuits for the potential salary decrease following Disney’s decision to not have an exclusive theatre release. These movies include “Soul” and “Luca,” which were both only published to Disney+ and available to anyone with an account, free of charge. This situation was slightly different than the other movies mentioned, for the previous ones were available for an additional fee. 

These actors’ decisions to speak up about the situations they faced has led to an increase in the scrutiny Disney is facing. People are closely following the responses that these actors are receiving in order to make their own judgments about the situation. 

While the global pandemic forced companies to pivot quickly in order to retain their profits, it is the job of the legal system to decide the next steps that should be taken and if the breach of contract was justified.