Dwayne Johnson is the latest celebrity to not sue Disney over Jungle Cruise on Disney+
Disney+ has released a Jungle Cruise movie. Dwayne Johnson, the actor who plays the lead role in the film, said he won’t sue Disney because of this.
It’s easy sailing for Disney and Dwayne Johnson: the Jungle Cruise actor and producer isn’t planning to sue the Walt Disney Company like Scarlett Johansson did over his new film’s day-and-date release on Disney+. Johansson, the actress and executive producer of Marvel’s Black Widow, made headlines on Thursday when she filed a lawsuit against Disney, claiming breach of contract for failing to deliver on the studio’s “promise” of an exclusive theatrical release. The complaint alleges that the hybrid approach cost Johansson potential remuneration related to the film’s box office success since the corporation made Black Widow accessible to watch on Disney+ on the same day it debuted in cinemas.
According to Deadline, Johnson and his Seven Bucks Productions “had no intention of suing Disney for any expected loss of revenue” as a result of Jungle Cruise’s day-and-date release. In May, Deadline reported that Disney contacted the filmmakers with options to go ahead with a simultaneous release after announcing Jungle Cruise will be the company’s sixth picture to debut on Premier Access on the same day it debuts in cinemas.
According to the complaint filed by Scarlett Johansson,
First, Disney hoped to divert the film’s audience away from cinemas and into its own streaming service, Disney+, where it could retain the profits while expanding the subscriber base, a proven strategy to increase Disney’s stock price. Second, Disney wanted to devalue Ms. Johansson’s contract in order to benefit itself. Ms. Johansson offered Disney and Marvel every chance to right their mistake and fulfill Marvel’s promise in the months leading up to this lawsuit. Unlike many other movie companies, like Warner Brothers, who settled with its talent on films like Wonder Woman  after releasing them “day-and-date” on its streaming service HBO Max last year, Disney and Marvel mostly disregarded Ms. Johansson, thus pushing her to bring this lawsuit.
The four films to be released through Premier Access before Jungle Cruise are Disney’s live-action Mulan, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ animation Raya and the Last Dragon, live-action Emma Stone vehicle Cruella, and Black Widow. A $29.99 charge grants three months of unrestricted access to the picture, after which it will be added to the Disney+ collection at no cost to members who want to wait.
“A ‘theatrical release,’ as Ms. Johansson, Disney, Marvel, and almost everyone else in Hollywood understands, is a release that is only available in movie theaters. Despite the fact that Disney was fully aware of this commitment, it ordered Marvel to break it by releasing the film on the Disney+ streaming service the same day it was released in theaters “reads an extract from Johansson’s complaint, which was filed on Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Disney responded on Thursday, saying the “sad and upsetting” lawsuit had “no merit.” A Disney spokesperson said in a statement that the company “fully complied with Ms. Johansson’s contract,” adding that “the release of Black Widow on Disney+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20 million she has received to date.”
Following Disney’s statement on Thursday, in which it called Johansson’s lawsuit “especially sad and distressing” for its “callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Johansson’s agent and CAA co-chairman Bryan Lourd hit back at Disney, accusing it of “shamelessly and falsely accus[ing] Ms. Johansson of being insensitive to the global COVID pandemic.”
Disney’s inclusion of Johansson’s $20 million salary in its press release was an attempt to gain attention “”This suit was filed as a result of Disney’s decision to knowingly violate Scarlett’s contract,” Lourd said, adding, “This suit was filed as a result of Disney’s decision to weaponize her success as an artist and businesswoman.” They’ve purposefully shifted income and earnings to the Disney+ side of the business, leaving creative and financial partners out of the equation. That’s all there is to it.”
Johnson and his Seven Bucks Entertainment team may be happy with the Jungle Cruise agreements, but former THR editor Matthew Belloni writes in his What I’m Hearing… email that Johnson’s co-star Emily Blunt may be the next to speak out following the film’s opening weekend. Stone is “weighing her options” over Disney’s plan to distribute Cruella in cinemas and on Disney+ during Memorial Day weekend, according to Belloni.
As the Covid-19 epidemic continues to affect the box office and movie theaters across the world, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek said in May that Disney will make Black Widow accessible via Premier Access on the same day it hits cinemas to “give customers greater option.”
The Jungle Cruise is now available on Disney+ Premier Access and in cinemas.
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