The Walt Disney Company is trying to stay out of the court room in their case against Scarlett Johansson–who claims the company cheated her out of millions of dollars in revenue for her recent “Black Widow” role but Johansson’s lawyers are not willing to settle for a settlement.

“After initially responding to this litigation with a misogynistic attack against Scarlett Johansson, Disney is now, predictably, trying to hide its misconduct in a confidential arbitration,” John Berlinski, an attorney at Kasowitz Benson Torres who represents Johansson, said in a statement Saturday.

However, according to Disney’s most recent filing on Friday to Los Angeles County Superior Court, the company is looking to keep all of its legal battles behind closed doors. In its claim, the company says Periwinkle, the company representing Johansson, agreed that all claims “arising out of, in connection with, or relating to” Johansson’s “Black Widow” work would be submitted to confidential, binding arbitration in New York.”

Additionally, the filing also mentioned the fact that Marvel was not named as a party in the lawsuit, claiming that the “Black Widow” star’s lawyers were using “gamesmanship” to generate publicity in targeting the studio’s parent company. It goes on to state that if Marvel had been named, the complaint would automatically have gone to arbitration.

Disney goes on to state in its filing: “There is nothing in the agreement requiring that a ‘wide theatrical release’ also be an ‘exclusive’ theatrical release.” Unlike previous statements by the company regarding the case, this new filing claims the actor was assured that 100% of the proceeds from streaming receipts would be used to calculate additional compensation.

The main issue surrounding this case is the fact that Johansson was promised a percentage of the film’s box-office receipts. Of course, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company chose to simultaneously release the film on its streaming service, Disney+–which greatly affected the film’s performance in theaters.

“There is nothing in the agreement requiring that a ‘wide theatrical release’ also be an ‘exclusive’ theatrical release,” Disney’s filing states.

Her lawsuit includes a response from Marvel’s chief counsel.

“We understand that should the plan change, we would need to discuss this with you and come to an understanding as the deal is based on a series of (very large) box office bonuses,” the response reads.

What are your thoughts on Disney trying to keep this lawsuit out of court? Let us know in the comments! 

Sean Sposato

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