How Disney's Streaming Strategy Clashed with Scarlett Johansson's 'Black Widow' Release

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 7 of 12.

D. In Blatant Breach of Marvel’s Promises to Ms. Johansson, Disney Gives the Picture a Day-and-Date Release on Disney+

30. The Picture was initially scheduled to be released on May 1, 2020. However, its release was delayed several times during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of September 2020, the Picture was scheduled to be released exclusively in theatres on May 7, 2021.

31. By early 2021, industry commentators began speculating about the possibility that the Picture’s release might be delayed again, or, in the alternative, that it might be released simultaneously in theatres and on Disney+ for a premium price.

32. When asked by an industry publication in January 2021 if the Picture would “stick to a theatrical release or go to Disney+,” Marvel’s President, Kevin Feige, was noncommittal. But he admitted that parent company Disney—not Marvel—was calling the shots when it came to Marvel Studios’ content on Disney+ and in the theatres, and that the intent was for the MCU’s “storytelling” to continue to unfold both in theatres and on Disney’s flagship streaming platform, stating:

All I can tell you is that for the past three years since Bob Iger brought me into his office and talked about a streaming platform that would become Disney+ and asked us to start working on programs for it. [sic] Our long lead plan was to have the MCU and the storytelling woven between weekly episodic big swings on Disney+ and into the feature big swings in theaters.

33. Speaking about the Picture on a February 11, 2021 earnings call, Mr. Iger’s successor, Bob Chapek, stated that “We are still intending it to be a theatrical release,” but declined to clarify if it would be released on May 7 as scheduled or delayed again. In a February 12 article, Variety reported that Marvel’s Mr. Feige “was opposed to a hybrid rollout,” but that “the powers that be” from Disney could still “convince Feige to change his mind—or overrule him completely.”

34. On March 17, 2021, Disney’s Mr. Chapek cleared up any remaining doubt that it was Disney, not Marvel, calling the shots, telling Bloomberg Television that “We’ll make the call probably at the last minute in terms of how these films come to market, whether it’s Black Widow or any other title. . . . We’ll be watching the call carefully and make the call when we have to.” Days later, on March 23, 2021, Disney announced that, instead of having a traditional exclusive theatrical release to maximize WWBO receipts, the Picture would get a “day-and-date” release on July 9, 2021 and be released simultaneously both in theatres and on Disney+ Premier Access.

35. As previously stated, Disney+ Premier Access is available only to customers who pay for a Disney+ subscription. Those customers can then pay an additional $30 fee to unlock access to a new release that they could otherwise only see in theatres. Unlike traditional premium video-on-demand releases, which typically give the viewer a 48-hour window to watch the content they have purchased, once a Disney+ Premier Access film is unlocked, the customer can watch it as many times as she wants for no additional fee as long as she remains a subscriber.

36. On May 24, 2021, Disney’s Mr. Chapek openly admitted that the theatrical market was “still fairly weak” from the pandemic and predicted that “the marketplace will recover more fully and that type of exclusive [theatrical] distribution will make more sense” by the time other Disney movies, such as Free Guy and Shang-Chi, are released in August and September. He offered no explanation for why Black Widow—a guaranteed box office smash in a pre-pandemic world—was still scheduled for an early July release.

Continue Reading Here.

About HackerNoon Legal PDF Series: We bring you the most important technical and insightful public domain court case filings.

This court case retrieved [redacted] is part of the public domain. The court-created documents are works of the federal government, and under copyright law, are automatically placed in the public domain and may be shared without legal restriction.