Will Dwayne Johnson Follow Scarlett Johanson’s Lead and Sue Disney?
Disney has an answer to the pandemic-related decrease of theater attendance in its simultaneous release of the new films on Disney+. Movies like Black Widow with Scarlett Johansson and Jungle Cruise with Dwayne Johnson have been released on dual platforms. Johansson was not happy with her release and decided to file a suit against Disney. Will Johnson follow her lead?
Johnson’s career and his connection with Disney
Dwayne Johnson’s fame first came from his wrestling career. In 1996, he debuted as Rocky Maivia and, after a year of disgruntled fans, turned heel and began referring to himself as The Rock. After winning and losing the WWF Championship several times over the years, Johnson took a break to focus on his acting career. In 2001, he made an appearance in The Mummy Returns as the Scorpion King and earned himself the lead in the sequel The Scorpion King in 2002.
After becoming a successful and popular world-famous wrestler and actor, Johnson decided to leave the world of wrestling behind to further his acting career in 2019. Johnson had not been on televised wrestling matches for a few years when he made the announcement.
Though Johnson continued to make small appearances in the wrestling world, he focused on becoming an actor and teaming up with companies like Disney. Johnson has played in several Disney productions, including The Game Plan released in 2007, Race to Witch Mountain in 2009, Moana in 2016, and the newly released Jungle Cruise in 2021 in theaters and as a Disney+ Premier.
Scarlett Johansson suing Disney over the dual release
Black Widow continued the Marvel legacy by looking deeper into the life of its main character Natasha Romanoff, played by Johansson. The movie looked into the past of Natasha and her desire not to allow any other girls to be treated as she had. The character teams up with her fake family from a mission when she was young to bring down the man who trained her as a spy and her sister as an assassin.
While Johansson was happy with the film she helped produce, she saw the dual release on Disney+ Premier and in theaters as a breach of the contract they had signed before the pandemic began. Johansson states that she was to have an exclusive theatrical release, and the dual release forced her to file a lawsuit against Disney, citing breach of contract.
Johnson does not intend to follow in Johansson’s footsteps
The former wrestler began filming Jungle Cruise before the pandemic, and the release was delayed twice. NME reported Johnson has no intention of following Johansson into court over the dual release or the prolonged-release time.
Johnson’s film company Seven Bucks Productions co-produced the film, and it’s believed that the contract between them and Disney is one of the reasons why Johnson is not going to sue Disney. According to Deadline, Jungle Cruise was released in theaters and Disney+ on July 30th and grossed $91.8M in first weekend sales in theaters globally and on the streaming app.
Disney’s upcoming streaming movies
While the lawsuit is still being deliberated between Johansson and Disney, it is not disrupting future releases. According to a list compiled by Rotten Tomatoes, this year will see Disney releasing Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, The Last Duel, Eternals, Encanto, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and The King’s Man. Free Guy has recently been released as well and is available on Disney+ Premier, and Cruella starring Emma Stone will be free on Disney+ beginning Aug. 27.