The lawsuits against prominent movie studios, TV networks and record labels is on the rise, with actor Emma Stone being the latest celebrity who is planning to sue Disney following the release of her film Cruella on the OTT platform Disney plus, along with a theatrical release.
If Stone does follow through, she will become the latest celebrity as a growing number of Hollywood actors have begun to file lawsuits against production houses for making money off their names.
Hollywood starting to speak out against the latest trend of hybrid releases: It's the topic of our News In-depth tonight with Adam Weissman. Adam is an attorney with expertise in entertainment, intellectual property, corporate transactions, and civil and commercial litigation.
Adam Weissman, great to have you on the show.
Scarlet Johansson sued Disney for breaching contract signed between two parties which stated that Johansson's ‘Black Widow’ would release exclusively on theaters.
According to reports, Johansson lost over 50 million dollars after the film was also released on Disney's streaming platform. First, would you give us a brief background on this particular lawsuit.
What is the reason behind Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit?
As we mentioned at the top of the segment, Emma Stone is also planning to sue Disney following the release of her film Cruella on Disney Plus, their OTT platform, along with a theatrical release.
So, basically, Johansson's suit has been backed and even followed by her peers in the industry.
What's at the heart of these lawsuits? What is the resonating issue?
So, studios began initiating the hybrid release model in response to the pandemic as theaters were closed. Disney employed the strategy successfully for the release of Mulan, Raya and the Last Dragon.
Are there any other reasons other than the pandemic itself?
Now, Disney fired back at the lawsuit, claiming there was ‘no merit’ to it and Scarlet Johansson said she was taken aback by Disney's response. How much money exactly did Scarlet Johansson lose?
The lawsuit is not limited to Johansson or Disney, of course. It affects the whole entertainment business and the overarching theatrical versus streaming debate. So, what's the significance and implications of this lawsuit?
What we are seeing is a debate over what role the actual creative talent behind the films you love has in profit-making in the 21st century. It appears that once again, Hollywood is on the precipice of a turning point. Adam Weissman, thanks for speaking with us tonight.