Disney CEO talks about ‘resetting talent deals’ after Scarlett Johansson sued company

After Scarlett Johansson launched a lawsuit against Disney over the release of Black Widow in theatres and on Disney+, CEO of the company, Bob Chapek is opening up about its future. 

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference on Tuesday, Chapek said, per Deadline, that Disney “has had a long history of having very symbiotic and cooperative deals with talent and we will continue to.”

“Certainly the world is changing and the talent deals going forward will have to reflect the fact that the world is changing,” he said, while refraining from mentioning Johansson’s name. 

“We’re in a moment of time where films were envisioned under one understanding about what the world would be because frankly, it hadn’t changed much,” he said. 

He went on to say that film deals made “three or four years ago” were “cut three or four years ago.” 

“Then they get launched in the middle of a global pandemic where that pandemic itself is accelerating a second dynamic, which is this changing consumer behavior,” he said. 

“So we’re sort of putting a square peg in a round hole right now where we’ve got a deal conceived under a certain set of conditions, that actually results in a movie that is being released in a completely different set of conditions,” he went on to say. 

Chapek added that the moviegoing experience will be taken into full consideration in the future when the company approaches “future talent deals.” 

“But right now we have this sort of middle position where we’re trying to do right by talent, I think the talent is trying to do right by us, and we’re just figuring out our way to bridge the gap,” Chapek shared at the conference. 

“Ultimately we believe our talent is our most important asset, and we’ll continue to believe that, and as we always have, we’ll compensate them fairly per the terms of the contract that they agreed to us with,” he added. 

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