The dreadful impacts of Covid-19 are still having their effect on business, commerce, and people worldwide. The pandemic has forced many companies to re-examine the force majeure clauses in their contracts. ‘Force Majeure’ has been defined by Black’s Law Dictionary as ‘an event or effect that can be neither anticipated nor controlled. The concept of force majeure is to allocate the risk of performance loss if an unpredictable or unanticipated event or natural disaster occurs. One well-known company dealing with a major contract dispute is Disney; after releasing one of the biggest movies of the year, its $346.9 million box office movie Black Widow starring Scarlett Johansson.
Scarlett Johansson had a contractual relationship with Marvel Entertainment and its parent company Disney to make the movie Black Widow. Johansson filed a lawsuit claiming a breach of contract for her role in the film, which suffered numerous delays due to COVID, which constituted force majeure and was released in July 2021. In her suit, she claims that Disney terminated the contract because their contract obligations were breached when Black Widow was simultaneously released in theaters and on Disney+ streaming service, which breached her contract. Furthermore, she claims that Disney intentionally induced the breach of the agreement by releasing it on the streaming service since much of her salary was based on the box-office performance. The issue being examined is whether the film’s Disney+ streaming release due to Covid breaches the exclusive theatrical release and if this release impacted Johansson’s earnings.
No one could have anticipated a global pandemic or expected the world to shut down almost overnight and the changes that would be made in their day-to-day lives from going to the movie theaters to watching box office releases from their own homes. A force majeure clause usually defines exact situations or events that would qualify as force majeure events. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to an unexpected change in the requirements and definition of force majeure clauses in contracts.
The pandemic presented a blindspot that many companies or organizations were suffering from in not having easy visibility and access to viewing data in their contracts. By having accessible access to visibility and data into contracts, many organizations could have saved themselves from being in breach of their force majeure clauses and knew exactly what it entailed. This is why contract risk management is so essential and is seeing a new resurgence in the era of COVID, making contract management software a must-have.
Evisort is an intelligent contract management platform powered by AI and automates extracting key contract data and streamlines contract generation, review, and approval processes. It provides real-time insights into every contract, reduces risk, and cuts down contract transaction time.