How Disney Strong Armed Marvel Into Breaking Its Contract Agreements with Scarlet Johansson

22 May 2024

Periwinkle Entertainment, Inc. v. The Walt Disney Company Court Filing retrieved [redacted] is part of HackerNoon’s Legal PDF Series. You can jump to any part in this filing here. This part is 10 of 12.


Inducing Breach of Contract

54. Plaintiff incorporates by reference and realleges each and every allegation in paragraphs 1 through 45 of this Complaint, inclusive, as though fully set forth herein.

55. Plaintiff and Marvel were parties to the Agreement, which is a valid and binding contract.

56. At all relevant times, Disney was aware of the Agreement and its terms.

57. As set forth above, Marvel breached the Agreement, including its implied covenants of good faith and fair dealing, by releasing the film on Disney+ simultaneously with its release in theatres, in violation of the Agreement which required a “theatrical release of the Picture” as the parties understood that term at the time of contracting, meaning an exclusive theatrical release of the Picture.

58. Disney intended to influence, direct, induce, or cause Marvel to commit the above described breaches because Disney knew it would benefit from such breaches. Among other benefits, Disney benefited by driving would-be theatre-goers to its wholly owned streaming platform, Disney+, allowing Disney to profit not only from the $30 Premier Access fee for the Picture but also from the subscription revenue derived from customers who either subscribed for the first time or maintained their existing subscriptions in order to watch the Picture from their own homes the same day it was released in theatres. Disney will continue to profit from those subscribers who maintain their subscriptions in order to retain access to the Picture after purchasing it via Premier Access.

59. Through its conduct, Disney caused Marvel to breach the Agreement as set forth above. But for the influence or direction of Disney, Marvel would have had no incentive, basis, and/or ability to collude with Disney; rather, absent such collusion, Marvel’s intent and desire would have been to release the Picture exclusively in theatres for an amount of time that would have maximized the box office receipts of the Picture.

60. Through its conduct, Disney caused damage to Plaintiff by, among other things, inducing acts that cannibalized box office receipts for the Picture and thereby reduced Plaintiff’s deferred compensation and box office bonuses under the Agreement, in an amount to be proven at trial.

61. Disney’s conduct was a substantial factor in causing Plaintiff’s harm.

62. In engaging in the misconduct alleged herein, Disney acted with malice, oppression, or fraud, and in willful disregard of Plaintiff’s rights and interests, thus entitling Plaintiff to an award of punitive damages in an amount appropriate to punish or make an example of Disney pursuant to Civil Code § 3294.

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