Scarlett Johansson Is Suing Disney For Breach Of Contract Over ‘Black Widow’ Release

Hearing about a celebrity, who is worth nearly $200 million, suing a corporation worth billions might elicit an immediate eye roll from the average person. And for good reason. Rich people fighting other rich people doesn’t sound all that important.

But this Scarlett Johansson vs Disney drama is interesting because it could impact how lower level people in the industry are treated as well.

The ‘Black Widow‘ star is suing Disney for not honoring the contract they had in place, specifically the language regarding the release of the film. Johansson’s attorney claims when Disney opted not to debut the film exclusively inside theaters, they breached the contract.

It’s a move they claim depressed ticket sales for the Avengers spinoff. Much of Johansson’s compensation was tied to the box office performance of ‘Black Widow’ — if it hit certain benchmarks, bonuses would kick in.

And that’s the important thing here. Most studios will give directors/actors/writers bonuses when it comes to box office performance, but the language surrounding streaming bonuses hasn’t really advanced yet. Many entertainers are getting screwed when it comes to streaming, while Netflix, Disney, and Amazon take in lots of cash.

Disney announced in March that ‘Black Widow’ would premiere simultaneously on the studio’s subscription-based streaming service, for a premium $30 price, as well as on the big screen. The move was made as the movie theater industry was rebounding from COVID-19 closures and capacity restrictions. Ticket sales steeply declined in subsequent weeks and currently stand at $319 million globally, putting ‘Black Widow’ on track to become one of the lowest-grossing Marvel movies of all time.

So what does Disney have to say about all this? Well, they’re firing back hard and calling the filing “especially sad” and “distressing”

Disney has fully complied with Ms. Johansson’s contract and furthermore, 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.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. Obviously Johansson doesn’t NEED any extra money, but at the same time, that doesn’t mean she should just allow Disney to do whatever the hell they want. This lawsuit could prevent them from doing the same thing to someone else who may not have the money/power to sue.

‘Black Widow’ Has Magnificent Opening, Earns $80 Million At The Box Office

Here is your weekly reminder that movie theaters are not dead. Disney/Marvel’s latest superhero flick, Black Widow, debuted inside theaters across the country this past weekend, and it brought in an impressive amount of money.

The movie, which stars Scarlett Johansson, is the first MCU movie to debut in theaters and on Disney Plus at the same time. Some people worried this could hurt the box office numbers, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Black Widow earned $80 million this past weekend, which is by far the biggest box office debut since the pandemic. Additionally, Disney claims it made around $60 million on Disney Plus, where users around the globe can rent the film for $30.

Directed by Cate Shortland, ‘Black Widow’ collected an additional $78 million from 46 international territories, boosting its global box office haul to an impressive $158 million. Combined with Disney Plus numbers, the final weekend figure sits at $215 million. 

That’s not bad at all. And we have to remember that it still hasn’t opened in China. Marvel movies do very well in China, so those numbers should only go up, once they can settle on a release date.

At the end of the day, this was another win for Disney, and a much-needed victory for theaters across the country.

This coming weekend, Space-Jam: A New Legacy will hit theaters. Experts say it should make around $20 to $25 million, which could be a conservative guess. Wouldn’t be surprised to see it hit $30 or $35 million.

The Reviews For Pixar’s Latest Film ‘Luca’ Are Mostly Positive

A Pixar film getting rave reviews from critics? Whaaat, no way!

Obviously we’re being sarcastic. Pixar films are typically praised by critics, and for good reason. The amount of work that goes into making a Pixar film is incredible. They spend years developing these things, with dozens of eyes examining, so that critics don’t have to.

Their latest film, Luca, was set to be released inside theaters this month, but due to the ongoing pandemic around the world, the studio decided to release it straight to Disney+

You can now watch the movie on the streaming service, as long as you already have a subscription.

The setup for Luca is that its title character is a young boy living off the Italian coast. It is there he shares adventures with a newfound best friend who has a dark secret: this friend is not actually fully human but a sea monster from another world just below the water’s surface. 

The movie has been getting mostly positive reviews from critics.

Drew Taylor from The Playlist gave it a near perfect rating…

This movie will fill your heart up. Casarosa is an artist with a true perspective, fearless in his creative impulses and limitless in his compassion, and Luca is a pure expression of these sensibilities.

And Alonso Duralde from The Wrap also enjoyed the film…

Luca is sweet and affecting, capturing the bond that strangers can build over a summer, and how that friendship can endure. And like its shape-shifting protagonists, it’s got plenty going on beneath the surface.

But it wasn’t all great. In fact, Robert Daniels from RogerEbert.com claims it’s Pixar’s least “special” film yet…

While some material may hit with younger audiences, Luca makes for Pixar’s least enchanting, least special film yet.

Another critic, Roger Moore from Movie Nation, also slammed the movie…

Disney/Pixar’s animated “Luca” is “The Little Mermaid” without the heart, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” without the laughs. It’s a gorgeous-looking time-killer aimed at a very young and undemanding audience.

Who to believe? No idea. You’ll just have to check it out for yourself.

Filmmaker Behind ‘Dear White People’ Set To Direct Disney’s Haunted Mansion Remake

Justin Simien, perhaps best known for directing Dear White People and Bad Hair, just landed a pretty huge deal.

It’s being reported that the filmmaker will direct Disney’s ‘The Haunted Mansion‘ remake.

Disney’s first ‘Haunted Mansion’ film was released back in 2003 and starred the family-friendly comedian known as Eddie Murphy. The movie didn’t perform all that well at the box office, at least by Disney standards.

So now Disney is trying again.

Though taking inspiration from the spooky theme park ride, plot details have been kept under wraps for the upcoming live-action movie. The Haunted Mansion theme park ride, which first opened in 1969, takes guests through a ghostly manor, where strange sounds and deceased inhabitants abound. It’s one of the only attractions in which Disney employees are encouraged not to smile.

In demand writer Kate Dippold (The Heat, Ghostbusters) wrote the most recent draft of the screenplay.

No casting details have been announced at this time, but that news should be coming soon.

Personally, I’m rooting for Craig Robinson landing a starring role.

‘Woke’ Filmmaker Mo Marable Will Direct Zac Efron In ‘Three Men And A Baby’ Reboot

Another day, another remake/reboot from Disney+. There were rumors that Disney was planning on making a ‘Three Men and a Baby‘ reboot with Zac Efron set to star.

And now we are hearing that the project is moving forward and Mo Marable will direct. He has been a pretty prolific director in the television world, so it’s nice to see him making the switch to features.

For those who don’t know, the original ‘Three Men and a Baby’ was released back in 1987. It starred Tom Selleck, Ted Danson and Steve Guttenberg “as New York bachelors who find themselves caring, and subsequently, falling for, an infant.”

The movie was a huge success at the box office. It was the highest-grossing film of 1987 domestically. It was also the first live-action Disney film to cross the $100 million mark at the domestic box office.

So you can see why the studio wants to remake it. No word on when filming might begin, but now that they have a director and a lead, it might not be too far away.

We’ll keep you posted.

‘Lion King’ Sequel In Development With Filmmaker Barry Jenkins

In 2019, Jon Favreau’s remake of the classic film ‘The Lion King‘ was released inside theaters. And even though the movie received mixed reviews from critics, the general audience ate it up and it made over $1 billion at the box office.

Now Disney is hoping to make another billion with a sequel. According to the reports, ‘Moonlight’ filmmaker Barry Jenkins will direct the sequel.

It will be a follow-up to the 2019 version of the film, as opposed to a remake of the 1994 cartoon. So now we’ve officially entered the land of creating sequels for remakes.

Jenkins released a statement on the news:

Helping my sister raise two young boys during the ’90s, I grew up with these characters. Having the opportunity to work with Disney on expanding this magnificent tale of friendship, love and legacy while furthering my work chronicling the lives and souls of folk within the African diaspora is a dream come true.

No word on a potential release date for this film, but Jenkins has a pretty busy schedule, so it might be a minute.

Sources say the new movie will partly focus on the early years of Mufasa, the regal father of Simba whose death forms the emotional heart of the first film and its remake.

We’ll keep you posted as more information is released.

John Boyega Calls Out Disney For Marginalizing Diverse Characters In ‘Star Wars’ Films

John Boyega is not afraid to speak his mind. We all know this. He was one of the most passionate/raw celebrities during the George Floyd protests, even stating that he didn’t care if no one in Hollywood wanted to work with him anymore.

Boyega speaks from his heart, and during an interview with British GQ, the 28-year-old former ‘Star Wars‘ actor called out Disney for “pushing him to the side” and giving all the love to Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley’s white characters in the films.

You get yourself involved in projects and you’re not necessarily going to like everything. [But] what I would say to Disney is do not bring out a black character, market them to be much more important in the franchise than they are and then have them pushed to the side. It’s not good. I’ll say it straight up.

You knew what to do with these other people, but when it came to Kelly Marie Tran, when it came to John Boyega, you know f**k all. So what do you want me to say? What they want you to say is, ‘I enjoyed being a part of it. It was a great experience…’ Nah, nah, nah. I’ll take that deal when it’s a great experience.

Wow. He’s certainly not holding back, and honestly, I think him saying this is more of a risk than anything he said during the Floyd protests.

Why? Because Disney basically owns 50% of Hollywood now. If he makes enemies at Disney, he’s basically shutting himself out of 50% of the industry.

It’s a bold move, and we certainly don’t blame him for speaking his mind. You can’t be afraid of these powerful organizations/studios.

Once you’re afraid, they win.

‘New Mutants’ Is Reportedly Still Being Released Inside Theaters In Just Two Weeks

Huh. We all thought ‘Tenet’ might be the film that revives the movie theater experience here in the states, but it looks like that award might go to The New Mutants.

The superhero thriller, which has been delayed more times than we can count (even before the pandemic) is scheduled to hit theaters August 28.

Many people believed Disney would postpone it once again, but according to multiple sources, it’s still set for the August 28 release date.

“It’s for sure opening August 28th,” one exhibitor told Variety. Of course, things could still change, but it’s looking like Disney is committed to this release date.

This means New Mutants will be the first new theatrical release from a major studio since the pandemic forced theaters to close back in March.

One week before New Mutants hits theaters, Russell Crowe’s indie thriller Unhinged will be released inside theaters across the country.

So yeah, theaters are determined to get back on track later this month. We’ll see if coronavirus allows them to do that. Many theaters, especially in bigger markets like Los Angeles and New York, are still closed.

No word on when they plan to reopen.

UK Cinemas Are Pissed At Disney Following Their Decision To Release ‘Mulan’ On Demand

Cinemas across the world were hoping Disney would continue with the release of ‘Mulan‘ later this year, in hopes it would bring people back to the theater.

Mulan along with Christopher Nolan’s Tenet‘ film were being viewed as potential saviors for the theater business as they try to convince people to return following months of closure, due to the coronavirus.

But now, they will no longer have Mulan to count on. UK Cinemas were reportedly blindsided this week after Disney announced they were taking Mulan directly to their Disney+ streaming service.

It’ll be released on September 4, but it won’t be included in your subscription. You’ll have to pay an extra $30 to rent it.

‘It’s a f*ck you to exhibitors,’ one operator put it succinctly today. The Disney UK team are understood to have been somewhat blindsided themselves and sympathetic to their theatrical partners, with Director of Theatrical Sales Craig Jones mailing key operators last night just prior to the announcement to say the decision was ‘not taken lightly’

Ouch. At the end of the day though, the studios hold the power currently. Obviously they still need theaters for big blockbuster releases (provided this pandemic ends) but for right now, theaters are struggling more than studios.

Studios can always make some money via on demand releases. Theaters are pretty much screwed at the moment.

‘New Mutants’ Gets Release Date, Find Out When It’ll Hit Theaters Inside

The ‘New Mutants‘ film has been a mess of a project since the beginning. The movie, which Disney inherited from Fox, was originally set to be released back in 2018.

But there have been numerous setbacks, and just when it was finally set to release in April, the coronavirus pandemic happened.

Disney removed it from their schedule in March, due to the pandemic, and fans were wondering if that was the final nail in the coffin for the film. Would it simply be released on demand sometime in the future?

Well, it looks like the answer is no. Disney is still planning a theatrical release. According to the latest report, the ‘X-Men’ superhero adventure film is set to hit theaters on August 28, 2020.

It’s a bold move. There is still some uncertainty surrounding the movie theater industry right now. While some states have allowed theaters to reopen, the bigger markets (like LA and NYC) are still closed.

Will they be open by August? We’ll just have to see how this virus plays out. It’s been a bit unpredictable.

For now, you can watch the trailer for ‘New Mutants’ starring Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy and Charlie Heaton.