Marvel Studios is beginning to explore new talent deals to provide flexibility in case the pandemic or other factors cause the studio to bypass theaters and bring movies straight to Disney +, TheWrap has learned.
Under the new contract language, key top talents such as actors, writers, directors and producers will receive an adjusted fee depending on whether the film opens in theaters or debuts on the Disney + streaming service, said an insider with knowledge of the situation. . Marvel blockbusters typically pay backend bonuses to key talent based on a movie’s box office performance, which can be significant for MCU movies.
The new contract terms will only apply to Marvel movies that are about to go into production, starting with “Black Panther 2,” which will begin filming in June 2021, the insider said.
A Marvel representative declined to comment on this story.
It’s unclear whether the new contracts will extend to Disney’s non-Marvel projects or whether deals on finished films such as “Black Widow” starring Scarlett Johansson will be renegotiated, which is still aiming for an opening in in cinemas in May 2021. An insider indicated that the studio was pursuing side-letter deals with top talent for films that had already wrapped production. CAA, who represents Johansson, declined to comment on whether the actress struck such a deal. A Disney representative also had no comment.
Studio insiders make it clear that everyone involved prefers to release Marvel movies exclusively in theaters, as traditional distribution has proven to be the most profitable for both studio and top talent over the years. The MCU series has emerged as the highest-grossing movie franchise, with worldwide box office revenues of $ 22.6 billion.
But the pandemic has turned the exhibit upside down with cinemas closing or capacity constraints, as millions of people choose to stay at home rather than risk infection. And with the likelihood that it could be more than mid-2021 for the COVID-19 vaccine to become widespread in the US, studios have been forced to make contingency plans.
According to two insiders, Marvel began exploring the possibility of updating talent contracts before Warner Bros. ‘seismic announcement that it will release all 17 of its 2021 releases simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max – a move expected to squeeze box office revenues (and top talent supported deals).
Marvel Studios has a busy slate in the coming year with Scarlett Johannsson’s “Black Widow” set to hit theaters on May 7, 2021, “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” will open July 9, 2021, “Eternals,” Directed by Chloé Zhao, it now opens November 5, 2021, and the third installment of the Tom Holland “Spider-Man” franchise, “Untitled Tom Holland Spider-Man 3, will be released December 17, 2021.