Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek has defended the entertainment titan’s release strategy after Scarlett Johansson filed a breach of contract lawsuit.
Disney Boss defends release strategy amid Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow lawsuit
The Oscar-nominated actor, one of Marvel’s biggest stars, launched legal action last month over the release of the superhero movie Black Widow .
Johansson said her contract guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release and that the film’s arrival on Disney+ at the same time it was shown in theaters deprived her of potential profits.
Disney issued a strongly worded response, accusing the star of showing a “callous disregard” for the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Chapek addressed the strategy on the company’s latest earnings call with investors and said the “unpredictable” nature of the health crisis required flexibility with respect to movie releases.
He said Black Widow was “the best performing movie at the domestic box office since the start of the pandemic” and he and Disney Chairman Bob Iger agreed on release strategy.
Chapek said, “Both Bob Iger and I, along with the leaders of our creative and distribution teams, determined that this was the right strategy because it would allow us to reach the broadest possible audience.”
He told Wall Street analysts that “distribution decisions are made on a film-by-film basis” based on market conditions and consumer behavior.
And he insisted that future release strategies would be based on what Disney believes “is best for the film and what is best for our constituents.”
Later in the earnings call, Chapek said the compensation agreed to with the talent was fair, though he did not mention Johansson by name.