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Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney over Black Widow movie

thetopher

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You notice Disney chose the tactic of appealing to emotions, calling her callous and uncaring about Covid victims. If it were a man, it seems more likely they would have stuck to financial considerations, not implying that the male actor has no right to put his interests first, or that he is unfeeling for doing so.

I'm not clear as to what the differences are between 'callous and uncaring' and 'unfeeling', and how it relates to Disney's statement being a gendered attack.
 

Stake fodder

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I'm not clear as to what the differences are between 'callous and uncaring' and 'unfeeling', and how it relates to Disney's statement being a gendered attack.
I'm not indicating a difference between the words, just saying that I think if it were a man suing Disney, they would not attack on an "uncaring/unfeeling" front. I believe they are using this language because it's a woman, and that makes it seem gendered.
 
thetopher
thetopher
Ah, I got it. Totally my misread of what you wrote. Apologies. :)

DeadlyDuo

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I'm not indicating a difference between the words, just saying that I think if it were a man suing Disney, they would not attack on an "uncaring/unfeeling" front. I believe they are using this language because it's a woman, and that makes it seem gendered.

I think they'd still call a man unfeeling, maybe even arrogant or entitled, just because they don't want to part with their money.

It's not a gendered attack in my opinion. It's just a couple of organisations seeing a potential cash cow opportunity and so they're going to play up "she's a woman!" because that's their bread and butter- cry foul at the slightest provocation and pretend there's a victim that needs saving. If Johansson was black, you can bet the issue wouldn't be about her gender because race is where the money currently is. It's because she's white that they have to play the gender card.
 

Stake fodder

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It's just a couple of organisations seeing a potential cash cow opportunity and so they're going to play up "she's a woman!" because that's their bread and butter- cry foul at the slightest provocation and pretend there's a victim that needs saving. If Johansson was black, you can bet the issue wouldn't be about her gender because race is where the money currently is. It's because she's white that they have to play the gender card.
These organizations may be putting their two cents into someone else's business, but then so are we! 😂 And Disney first chose the words. I rather think if it had been a Black person, Disney would have chosen different words, likely playing up their "ingratitude." I see a deliberate behavior that you don't think is there, so we'll have to agree to disagree.

I guess my point is that anyone should be able to dispute a business contract without ad hominem (or should I say 'ad feminam'?) attacks. It's a poor defense on Disney's part.
 

thetopher

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I'm not indicating a difference between the words, just saying that I think if it were a man suing Disney, they would not attack on an "uncaring/unfeeling" front.

But in the quote I highlighted you did maintain that Disney would call a man unfeeling if they were suing for money and yet they indicated that a woman is merely uncaring.
I don't see any meaningful or 'gendered' difference in the word choice; Disney is just trying to play the emotional manipulation card, regardless of gender, because they know they can't play and moral superiority card and anything like it.
All this 'it's because I am of a protected group' thing seems to constantly brought up for the flimsiest of reasons. I don't see it here.
 
Stake fodder
Stake fodder
I said, "NOT implying... that he is unfeeling for doing so." But perhaps I was too wordy and unclear. My meaning was that they would attack in a different way if it were a man, not using emotional language at all. That is what I consider gendered.

Ethan Reigns

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I don't like Disney and how they treated Alan Dean Foster was beyond awful but its hard to care about someone getting more money after they've already got 20 Million!!

I disagree. When you sign up to a contract, you are entitled to understand that the provisions of the contract are binding on both parties. The idea that someone is rich has been used as an excuse for stealing from them forever. Theft is still theft. She has completed the effort required on her part of the contract. Disney did not complete its part. I don't care about the 20 million but I do care about people on both sides of an agreement getting what they are owed. And hiring a star like ScarJo is worth at least 30 million to the producers. Stars may cost big bucks but they are also a bargain, ensuring the attendance of that particular star's fans and giving fans some reassurance that if a major star agreed to do this picture, it must be good because she can turn down anything that she thinks is unworthy.

Disney has had an unenviable reputation in the animation business since the 1930's - the animators used to call it "Mauschwitz" and the advice to employees was, "If you don't come in on Saturday, don't bother coming in on Sunday." This is just Disney attempting to screw somebody else over. Nothing new here.
 

Spanky

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Disney did not complete its part.
From what I read that's not accurate though. She was guaranteed 20 million (which she got) and a portion for ticket sales for its wide release (which she got) she was also getting a potion of the streaming sales.

The discrepancy is, as per the suit, one party inferred wide theater release as exclusive and the other did not. To me, the movie did get a wide theater release so Disney fulfilled their obligation based upon the contract.

And yeah, it sucks that I'm defending Disney.

From THR
(emphasis added mine)

Let’s set aside for a moment the question of whether Scarlett Johansson has a legal leg to stand on in her fight with Disney over her compensation for Black Widow. Let’s even say she doesn’t, and that she is — as Disney has publicly contended — greedy and indifferent to the horrors of the pandemic.

It doesn’t matter.

Because even if all that were true, industry insiders agree, attacking Johansson so personally was a pretty spectacular unforced error. And many observers are laying that at the feet of CEO Bob Chapek (with an assist from reflexively vindictive top communications officer Zenia Mucha and with approval from the lawyers).

The person who isn’t getting the blame? Outgoing chairman Bob Iger. “Somebody’s playing it like an amateur,” says one former Disney executive. “Iger’s no amateur.” A top executive at a rival studio agrees, adding that the whole confrontation seems ill-advised and avoidable. “It’s insane to me — insane,” he says. “Do you think on Bob Iger’s watch he would ever have allowed a piece of talent to sue them?” (This executive notes that it’s possible to settle such disputes by finding creative ways to pay stars without setting undesirable compensation precedents.)

A Disney insider says that blame for the statement is being placed unfairly at Chapek’s feet and “this was not a unilateral decision nor an edict” from him. (It is difficult, however, to discern who, if anyone, on the studio side was informed in advance.)

Disney’s posture is being read in Hollywood as Chapek signaling his indifference to star talent. But however indifferent he may be, there is the one star Chapek and Disney absolutely, unequivocally need: Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, who is known to be very unhappy with the studio’s attack on one of his superheroes.

We have seen before what happens when Feige gets unhappy. After myriad clashes with star-unfriendly Marvel Entertainment chairman Ike Perlmutter (including over Feige’s wish to diversify the universe by making Black Panther and Captain Marvel), Perlmutter vanished from the equation amid a 2015 reporting structure change by Iger. “My sense was that the strained relationship … was threatening [Feige’s] continued success,” Iger wrote in his memoir. And any threat to Feige and his success is simply not something that any Disney fiduciary could allow.

Disney has been positioning itself as the adversary in chief for many months. Chapek, who did a stint in home video before moving on to consumer products and then to theme parks, has been leaning on numbers while leaving the messy talent-relations business to executives at the studio. It has hardly been an easy job as he took the helm at a time of crisis, with shuttered theme parks and movie theaters.

By late 2020, as studios began shifting movies that had been put into production with the expectation of an exclusive theatrical release onto their streaming services, agents began to complain that Disney was distinguishing itself — and not in a good way — in negotiations with key talent. “Disney is by far the most ridiculous on deals,” one high-level agent said then. Added another: “Their initial deals and offers were dog shit. Terrible, for first-dollar-gross players.”

A prominent producer thinks there is a change coming — but doesn’t think it will be good for the industry. “From this point on, it’s just going to be work for hire,” he says. “It’s a huge sea change for everyone. You’ll still get a payment up front. It’s just not going to be huge home runs any more. And with time, those fees will get smaller.” But having been offered such deals, this person says, “It doesn’t matter to me whether [my movie] is a huge hit or not. The pressure’s off.” He doesn’t want to embarrass himself, but a project just needs to be good enough to get the next deal. This may help explain why so many movies made for streamers seem to lack luster.

Jason Blum says “On a streaming movie, [if] you’re not participating in the upside or downside, I think that compromises the creative process.” Blum says he’s counting on “a ton of lawsuits” in the hope that “eventually, there will be sharing in streaming — just like there has been for 50 years in this business.”

(but if they start profit sharing for the streamers, wouldn't that also drive the price of the services up? I'm not sure I really want that to happen)
 

Spanky

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from verge

This summer’s biggest Hollywood attraction is a multimillion-dollar battle between two of the industry’s best-known players: Scarlett Johansson and Disney. Johansson sued Disney last week over its day-and-date release of her Marvel superhero film Black Widow, which put the movie on Disney Plus the same day it hit theaters, potentially depriving her of a huge box-office-infused paycheck. The aftermath has been chaotic, but it’s more importantly illuminated the myriad ways that streaming has forever changed the way we experience movies and the implications for the creatives and talent who make them.

Movie contracts have traditionally been negotiated around box office results, with sizable bonuses tied to how well a film performed. This worked out well for both talent and studios. Studios saved a chunk of money up front and didn’t risk spending big on a flop, while actors, producers, and others involved in a film could look at box office results to see exactly what their production was worth and get paid accordingly.

But with the shift to streaming, things have had to change. Actors and producers working with a streamer like Netflix are typically paid a set fee, an industry attorney who negotiates contracts for top-level talent told The Verge. (The attorney asked not to be named so as to speak freely about the topic.) If they’re lucky enough to have significant leverage, they could also potentially secure a bonus premium fee that’s a contractual dollar amount paid out over months or quarters. But it’s not performance-based like box office bonuses are. Netflix often pays out this prenegotiated sum in eight quarterly installments following a title’s release, the attorney said, while Apple tends to pay out a little quicker over 12 months.

Because the space is changing so quickly, part of this attorney’s role in contract negotiations now is to “read the tea leaves and project where the deals are going to go.”

The old way of negotiating talent earnings has changed rapidly. According to Johansson’s complaint, terms of her Black Widow release were initially finalized in 2017 — early enough that Disney Plus hadn’t been announced, and Johansson’s team evidently didn’t think it was necessary to negotiate terms around streaming. Her contract specified Black Widow would debut with a “wide theatrical release,” but that it would be exclusively theatrical appears to have been only an understanding.

While actors know now that they need to negotiate terms for streaming, determining their worth is more difficult than simply looking to box office receipts. Streaming services hold their performance data extremely close to the chest, and they’re reluctant to share specifics about engagement and earnings on specific titles. Data that is shared is often opaque, obscured, or lacking context for how a title’s success (or failure) was measured by respective streamers.

“I don’t see Netflix wanting to share how much of their subscriber base is growing and what their viewership is any time soon,” the attorney said. “But we would like to see it.”

This is one reason why industry analysts who spoke with The Verge expressed a need for greater transparency by not just Disney but all streamers about performance data of titles on their platforms. Without it, it’s difficult for talent to advocate for themselves in negotiations in a swiftly evolving streaming landscape, argued Karie Bible, a media analyst with Exhibitor Relations Co. who spoke with The Verge by phone.

“The streamers are, for the most part, pretty darned nontransparent about numbers, about breakdowns, about demographics,” Bible said, adding that this information is not only crucial for analysts but agents, managers, and lawyers, too, who have traditionally negotiated based on box office performance. What this lack of transparency by streamers can lead to is not only mistrust, but possibly even more of what Bible described as “creative accounting” by companies who aren’t forthright during contract negotiations. And that could potentially mean lost earnings for talent.

Another thing to consider is that each individual streamer’s metrics for success are, by and large, unclear. Box office numbers offer a clear picture of how a movie performed relative to its budget and projected ticket sales. But with streaming, none of us really know what a win looks like — huge viewership numbers, new signups, repeat views — short of the company telling us that a movie was one.

“I think we have to understand this lawsuit in the context of the redefined success metrics for any movie in the market today,” Daniel Loria, SVP of content strategy and editorial director at Boxoffice Pro, said by phone. “Unfortunately, we are all in the dark as to what that success means in the streaming era — not just the COVID era — but the streaming as a whole.”

Like Bible, Loria added that it’s likely frustrating for people in the entertainment industry who stand to benefit from streamer-produced titles but are not getting enough transparency around data and seemingly arbitrarily concocted metrics for success, which can vary by company and service. That could lead to top-name talent thinking twice about engaging in these types of agreements, or at the very least demanding clauses that protect their earnings in the event that a film’s release rollout is changed by a streaming-adjacent studio.

“If the industry wants to redefine the metrics of success for a movie, it needs to be on the same page on what that definition is,” Loria said. “And it seems right now like every studio is playing by a different set of rules and different metrics on what is financially successful and what isn’t.”
 

Spanky

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SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris:
“we are deeply concerned by the gendered tone of Disney’s criticism of Ms. Johansson. Women are not ‘callous’ when they stand up and fight for fair pay – they are leaders and champions for economic justice. Women have been victimized by pay inequity for decades, and they have been further victimized by comments like those in Disney’s press statements. These sorts of attacks have no place in our society and SAG-AFTRA will continue to defend our members from all forms of bias.”

I just wonder if all of this negative Disney talk will actually amount to anything. It doesn't seem to be going away as quickly as I thought it would. One would think that Disney would want to settle rather than having fresh stories keep coming out.
 

Dogs of Winter

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I agree that their statement may have been different if it had been a man, but with the amount of money at stake I think they would have still gone on the offensive but just targeted their attack differently.

So for a woman they said she was callous and uncaring as these are traditionally seen as opposed to female values (although as a man I wouldnt exactly consider them a compliment).

And for a male they may have called him entitled and arrogant buying into the narrative of white male privilege. But I just dont think anyone would have called them sexist for accusing a man in this way even though it is equally based on stereotypes and equally insulting

But sexist or not I would laugh if Disney lost just for how crass their comments were to expect sympathy by mentioning Covid. And since then they have come out and alleged what she is doing is simply a PR campaign. Implying that Disney would be above anything as crass as a PR campaign :)
 

DeadlyDuo

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But I just don't think anyone would have called them sexist for accusing a man in this way even though it is equally based on stereotypes and equally insulting

That's the hypocrisy and double standards so prevalent in the type of people who immediately cry victimhood at the slightest thing.
 

Anyanka Bunny Slayer

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I'm sure that Scarlett bears no ill will towards Disney.

Hl3OKok.gif
 

Buffy Summers

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Wait - Gabrielle Carteris is the president of SAG?

Fran Drescher is supposed to replace her though.

I can't tell if you're joking.
 
Spanky
Spanky
Has been for awhile... but yes, that was my thought when I first read it. Fran Drescher is supposed to replace her though.

Spanky

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Apparently Disney is seeking arbitration. That would make the case details confidential and prevent them for going public with any information regarding the case, salary, etc, even after the case ends.

@Buffy Summers I am not joking
 
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