Scarlett Johansson sues Disney over Disney+ release of ‘Black Widow’

Marvel Studios

Call it Marvel’s Civil War: Part 2Scarlett Johansson has filed suit against Marvel Studios’ parent company Disney, claiming that the studio’s decision to release her Black Widow on Disney+ on the same day it hit theaters was a breach of her contract. 

Johansson’s suit claims that her contract guaranteed Black Widow an exclusive theatrical window before it hit the streaming service, which the simultaneous release eliminated.

As not only the star but one of the executive producers of the film, ScarJo had profit participation “points” tied to the film’s box-office performance. However, with the movie making tens of millions of dollars on Disney+ through its Premiere Access service — instead of in theaters — many believe that cut into the film’s box-office potential, and therefore her bottom line. 

The Wall Street Journal quoted one source who estimates putting the film on Disney+ immediately could cost Johansson over $50 million.

John Berlinski, an attorney for the star, said, “It’s no secret that Disney is releasing films like Black Widow directly onto Disney+ to increase subscribers and thereby boost the company’s stock price — and that it’s hiding behind Covid-19 as a pretext to do so.”

He continued, “But ignoring the contracts of the artists responsible for the success of its films in furtherance of this short-sighted strategy violates their rights and we look forward to proving as much in court.”

For its part, Disney responded, calling the suit “without merit.”

“The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the studio maintained, adding, “Disney has fully complied with Ms. Johansson’s contract and furthermore, the release of Black Widow on Disney+…has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date.”

Disney is the parent company of ABC News. 

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Brittnay Daniel & Pooch Hall join ‘The Game’ reboot; ‘Real Husbands of Hollywood’ revived at BET+; and more

L-R: Brittany Daniel and Pooch Hall in 2006; Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Brittnay Daniel and Pooch Hall, two of the original The Game stars, are coming back for the Paramount+ reboot.

The two have signed on to make special appearances on the ten-episode series, with Daniel to reprise her role as Kelly Pitts and Hall as Derwin Davis. New cast members include Adriyan RaeVaughn Hebron and Analisa Velez. As previously reported, the new series is set in Las Vegas and centers on a “modern-day examination of Black culture through the prism of pro football.” A release date for The Game has yet to be announced.

In other news, BET+ has given a greenlight to a six-episode revival of BET’s reality TV parody show Real Husbands of HollywoodDeadline has learned. The limited series will include original series stars Kevin HartBoris KodjoeDuane MartinJB SmooveNellyNick CannonRobin ThickeCynthia McWilliams and Jackie Long. Other celebrity guest stars have yet to be announced. Real Husbands of Hollywood is currently in production in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, DeWanda Wise has joined the upcoming Showtime series Three WomenVariety reports. Based on Lisa Taddeo‘s novel of the same name, the series follows three women on “a crash course to radically overturn their lives.” Wise will play Sloane, a “glamorous entrepreneur in a committed open marriage” that is threatened by two sexy new strangers.

Finally, Spotify is launching LOUD, a new investigative podcast focused on reggaeton. Hosted by Puerto Rican singer-rapper Ivy Queen, the new series will chronicle the history and evolution of the reggaeton movement as well as the artists that expanded the genre. Special guests include Nicky Jam,Raw Alejandro, Maluma and more. LOUD premieres Wednesday, August 4, with new episodes released every week.

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Jamie Lee Curtis reveals, “pride as our son became our daughter Ruby”

Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Funimation Entertainment

In an interview with AARP magazineJamie Lee Curtis revealed that her 25-year-old child with acclaimed director Christopher Guest is transgender.

With their daughter’s permission, Curtis made the revelation to the magazine. 

“We have watched in wonder and pride as our son became our daughter Ruby,” the Halloween series star, philanthropist and ordained minister said. “And she and her fiancé will get married next year at a wedding that I will officiate.”

The article mentions that Ruby works as a gaming editor. Married since 1984, Curtis and the Best in Show director and This Is Spinal Tap veteran also have a 34-year-old daughter, Annie, who’s a married dance instructor.

Curtis says she and Guest have no grandchildren at the moment: “Not yet, but I do hope to.”

The interview with AARP reveals the “constant metamorphosis” in the 62-year-old Knives Out star’s life, detailing her recovery from Vicodin and alcohol addiction in 1999. Curtis declares that had she not straightened out when she did, she would have been “dead for sure.”

Clean and sober ever since, Curtis is enthusiastic about the future, and sees herself as “just a sober person — flawed, contradictory, broken and redeemed.”

Curtis explains, “I wake up every day at 4 a.m. and have so much on my mind. I’m just so crazy excited and creative right now. And I don’t want to squander any of it.”

 

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‘Hawkeye’ coming to Disney+ on November 24

Marvel Studios

Disney+’s next small-screen MCU spin-off, Hawkeye, is coming to the streaming service on November 24. 

The series, which was teased in an end-credits scene in Black Widow — setting up Florence Pugh‘s character Ylena’s hunt for Jeremy Renner‘s archer Avenger — stars Hailee Steinfeld as his protégé. 

In an exclusive, Entertainment Weekly just posted a “first look” photo at Renner’s Clint Barton meeting Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop, who eventually takes up the Hawkeye mantle.

The cat was let out of the bag last year that Steinfeld was starring in the series, when photographers caught the pair seemingly running for their lives on a New York City subway platform. Laughing about that, Steinfeld told ABC Audio, “We were just trying to get somewhere and a couple of pictures were taken and now here we are.”

On a more serious note, the Dickinson producer and star said she was “so, so honored obviously to be part of the MCU and be playing alongside Jeremy,” calling the experience “amazing.”

As for his onscreen trainee, Renner tells EW, “Outside of acting in the thing, I was protecting her and giving her the CliffsNotes on how it goes with this kind of filmmaking: Green screen, superhero life, all that stuff. I just wanted to protect her, because there’s a lot of physical stuff.”

He added, “She’s a wonderful actress, a wonderful human, and I can’t wait to see all the cool stuff that she’s able to do.”

After the debut, a new episode of Hawkeye will drop every Wednesday.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Get ready for a ride with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Emily Blunt on Disney’s ‘Jungle Cruise’

Frank Masi/Disney

Friday, the pandemic-delayed adaptation of the Disney parks ride Jungle Cruise finally sails into theaters. In the movie, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plays a wisecracking riverboat captain chartered to take an adventurous scientist, played by Emily Blunt, down a dangerous river to find a mysterious tree that possesses powerful healing properties. 

For Johnson, who co-produced the film with his Seven Bucks company, the film was a chance to stroll down memory lane. “I had ridden the ride when I was a kid. Many moons later, I went to Disney World for the first time and rode the ride then too, as well,” Johnson said at a recent press event. “So it had a nostalgic element to it when it was first presented to me. But also, you know, really the opportunity that we had that we could create something that was hopefully unique and special.”

Johnson, an avowed Disney fan — and a veteran of the hit Disney/Pixar film Moana — explained, “You hope to get lucky in a career where you have an opportunity like this, where you can make a movie that’s based off an iconic ride, that’s beloved with the most trusted brand in the world when it comes to family and delivering entertainment.”

Johnson praised Jungle Cruise‘s director Jaume Collet-Serra for adapting a theme park ride into a big-screen one — and liked his work so much that he tapped him to call the shots on Johnson’s upcoming DC Comics-based film Black Adam, which just wrapped production.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News. 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Happy Day: Henry Winkler calls childhood crush for her 101st birthday

ABC Photo Archives

Henry Winkler is proving once again why he’s considered the nicest guy in Hollywood. The former Happy Days star-turned Barry Emmy winner reportedly called a former neighbor named Florence Keller on whom he reportedly had a crush as a child, for her 101st birthday.

Page Six reports that Keller’s granddaughter, Natalie Lebovits-Zaidenberg, reached out on a Facebook page frequented by showbiz publicists to see if anyone could get her in touch with Winkler’s reps so that he could contact her grandma for her big day. 

Lebovits-Zaidenberg told the paper, “My grandmother has Alzheimer’s, but whenever she watches TV and he comes on, she goes, ‘It’s Henry,’ and gets very excited…Sometimes she doesn’t remember us, so it’s really special.”

Natalie explained that the now-75-year-old actor and her grandmother lived in the same New York City building decades ago. “He was about 10-ish and he had a big crush on her…That’s the story I heard growing up,” she said. 

Her efforts on Facebook paid off: Winkler was notified by a family member, and set up a time to call Keller and her family.

“He called and…was lovely,” Lebovits-Zaidenberg told Page Six. “He just said he wished her a happy birthday, and said he appreciates that we have followed his career this whole time. They spoke for about five minutes. We were all excited.”

She added of the actor, “He’s ‘the Fonz.’ It was just so cool. It was a story I grew up with my whole life that was a great NYC story. But to see it be real was very special.”

Incidentally, one of the Facebook group’s members noted of Winkler, “He’s easily the nicest celebrity I ever worked with.”

That, for the record, is something ABC Audio can confirm.

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Luke Wilson doesn’t understand plot of brother Owen Wilson’s series ‘Loki’

ABC/Marvel Studios

Luke Wilson and Owen Wilson may be brothers, but that doesn’t mean they necessarily understand everything the other does. Case in point — Luke doesn’t quite understand Marvel’s Loki, the popular Disney+ series in which his brother stars. 

Luke, who plays Justice Society of America sidekick Pat Dugan on DC’s Stargirl, shared at the show’s virtual press conference on Wednesday, that he just doesn’t understand the plot of the Marvel action series, according to Entertainment Weekly.

“I had it explained to me a number of times. Never got the plot of it,” he said of the show, which sees Owen in the role of Mobius, who works at the so-called Time Variance Authority to ensure the events of time don’t get out of hand.

Despite not understanding Loki, Luke did say that his brother “really enjoyed” working on it. 

“Like me, he had not worked on a superhero project and had not worked on a show before, but I know he had a great time and really enjoyed working with Tom Hiddleston. It seems like that show turned out great too,” the actor added. 

Loki has been renewed for a second season.  Marvel is owned by Disney, parent company of ABC News.

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‘Resort to Love’: Christina Milian explains why singing Alicia Keys’ songs in the film made her “nervous”

David Bloomer/Netflix

Christina Milian says she could really “relate to” her Resort to Love character Erica, an aspiring pop star who ends up singing at her ex-fiancé’s resort wedding following a music career meltdown.

“I’ve had dreams shattered when it comes to the music industry,” Milian tells ABC Audio. “It happens to us all in some way or another. And sometimes we make sacrifices of love. So, it’s definitely something I relate to.”

In fact, Christina says Erica was so relatable that she often felt they were “like twins” because of their similar “drive… passion to sing…and be on stage and to dream big.”

While it wasn’t much of a challenge for Milian to channel her character’s persona, the actress says when it came to belting out producer Alicia Keys‘ ballads for the film, she felt the “pressure.”

“I sing her songs in the movie and there’s other songs that I sing,” Milian shares. “So, she had a lot to do with the direction of what we were doing musically, as well as even just the approval. And that’s something even as a singer — and I’ve been doing this forever — I still get nervous about it.”

“[Especially] when you’re singing… the actual artist’s record,” she continues. “The Alicia Keys record. [It] does put a little bit of pressure on yourself, but that’s a natural thing. And I like to be better and do things well…it’s kind of like hoping your teacher gives you an A plus. So, I guess she gave me an A, because we made a movie and I got to sing her song and it was a lot of fun to do it.”

Resort to Love, also starring Jay Pharoah and Sinqua Walls, is now available on Netflix.

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George Clooney tours damage after his Italian getaway is spared from historic flooding

ABC

George Clooney visited with Laglio, Italy Mayor Roberto Pozzi in the wake of flooding and mudslides there that devastated the historic community.

Clooney and his wife, Amal, own an 18th-century villa in Lagio, and while his property reportedly was spared any damage, Clooney pledged his support to get the community back on its feet. 

“It’s so much worse than anybody thinks,” Clooney told Italian media, according to video posted by The Sun. “We were in Cernobbio and it was very bad, but here in Laglio it’s much worse. They think it could be years and millions of dollars before they fix it up.”

Days of torrential rain led to a river swelling over its banks, causing mud and tree trunks to sweep through Lagio, leveling homes in their wake. “All hell broke loose,” the Oscar winner recalled.

Clooney vowed, “This town has been here forever, it’s going to continue and it’s going to be stronger and come back better, this is a very resilient town.”

 

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Netflix will require stars to be vaccinated for all its productions

Netflix

Netflix has stepped up the fight against COVID-19 by requiring actors and other so-called “Zone-A” personnel — those who interact directly with a cast — to be vaccinated for all of its productions. 

Deadline reports the move comes after Hollywood unions gave producers the option to require vaccines for such personnel on a “case by case” basis, but Netflix has become the first studio to implement it. 

The move was met with mixed responses on social media; WandaVision star Kat Denning replied right away on Twitter with, “Your move, everyone else!”

While she got hundreds of retweets and many supported it, others replied with comments like “Not legal,” and another griped “Soooo get the shot or don’t have a job? Wow.”

Since production resumed in Hollywood after the pandemic shutdowns, all studios have implemented rigorous COVID-19 protocols. These include frequent testing, and dividing cast and crew into various zones in an effort to shield talent from other members of the crew and eliminate any unnecessary interaction. It also better allows productions to quickly isolate anyone who might test positive.

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