Monday, April 15, 2024

Spielberg’s Oscar Tipped “West Side Story” Will Play in Theaters First As Disney Abandons Day-and-Date After “Black Widow” Lawsuit


Disney has blinked.

Following Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit over “Black Widow” opening day and date in theaters and n Disney Plus the Mouse House has changed its tune.

Their upcoming Big Five releases will not start simultaneously on the streaming service and in theaters. They will start in theaters with 30 to 45 day windows.

The movies include Steven Spielberg’s Oscar tipped revival of “West Side Story,” plus Marvel’s “Eternals,” Ridley Scott’s “The Last Duel,” “The King’s Man,” and “Ron’s Gone Wrong.” All of those will have the 45 day window before going to streaming. “Encanto’ will have a 30 day window.

Disney is doing this after Johansson surprised them with a lawsuit claiming there was no agreement with the star for streaming. She’s claiming the film made $50 million less than it should have because it went to Disney Plus.

At the same time, Disney is seeing massive success with their Marvel movie, “Shang Chi,” which has now made $120 million in two weeks playing just in theaters.

Spielberg has been critical of streaming even though his company recently made a deal with Netflix. The “West Side Story” remake is the front runner for Best Picture right now even though no one’s seen it. But its scope and importance, coupled with good looking teasers, point to a sure thing. Spielberg and Disney have also managed to get rid of the rotten Broadway remake of the musical to clear the way for the new movie. They want everyone in theaters to see what could be a key awards movie.

Disney still has to clean up the Johansson mess before it goes even further. You can bet that will come sooner rather than later.



Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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