The Walt Disney Company has set its third-quarter earnings call for Thursday, August 12th at 4:30 p.m. ET. A corporate call aimed at investors may not seem like an exciting event. However, it offers Disney an opportunity to comment on Black Widow's box office collapse. The company may also comment on Scarlett Johansson's lawsuit centered on the film's release. Should Disney chooses to veer from its planned theatrical release of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings in September, this earnings call is likely to be the place to announce it.
Disney's May earnings call is where the company stated its plans for a theatrical-first release for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. However, the same earnings call also confirmed that Disney is considering extended Disney+ Premier Access releases into 2022.
CEO Bob Chapek reaffirmed the studio's plan to release Black Widow in theaters in May during the February earnings call. He noted that the company was monitoring the situation "very, very carefully." In March, Disney delayed Black Widow into July with a simultaneous Disney+ premier access debut. The $60 million in new Premier Access activations around Black Widow's release is the subject of Scarlet Johansson's lawsuit against the company.
"Disney intentionally induced Marvel's breach of the agreement, without justification, in order to prevent Ms. Johansson from realizing the full benefit of her bargain with Marvel," John Berlinski, an attorney at the Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP firm that represents Johansson, stated. "This will surely not be the last case where Hollywood talent stands up to Disney and makes it clear that, whatever the company may pretend, it has a legal obligation to honor its contracts."
The suit started a public back and forth between the star and the studio. A Disney spokesperson said, "There is no merit whatsoever to this filing. The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. 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 $20M she has received to date." Johansson's legal team responded, calling the statement a direct attack on Johansson's character.
What do you think? Will Disney delay Shang-Chi and add it to Disny+ Premier Access? Let us know what you think in the comments.