Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney over the release of Black Widow on the company’s streaming service while it was also in theatres.
The road to Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow has been a long one and the story isn’t quite over yet. Many people felt that the character and actress should have been the focus of their own film far sooner, but various contracts and behind-the-scenes drama prevented that from happening. As the release date for the film came closer concerns over the Covid-19 pandemic continued to grow until the film was delayed by over a year.
Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow was eventually released on July 6th of 2021 to a strong box office opening and was also part of Disney Plus’ premium access option. The second week of the film’s run at the box office saw a significant drop in the film’s earnings, from an $80M+ earning down to a $20M+ earning. As of this writing, the film has only earned over $318M worldwide making it one of the slowest earning films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
A number of factors have been attributed to this, including the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic is still affecting many parts of the world. Some are also theorizing that the release on Disney Plus also harmed the film’s theatrical performance. Regardless of what the exact cause is, Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney for releasing the film at the same time as putting it in theatres.
The lawsuit states that Marvel guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release for Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and that her salary was, in part, tied into the film’s box office performance. It also alleges malicious behavior on Disney’s part in regards to her deal with Marvel:
“Disney intentionally induced Marvel’s breach of the agreement, without justification, in order to prevent Ms. Johansson from realizing the full benefit of her bargain with Marvel.”
In response, Disney stated that the lawsuit had no merit and showed a distressing disregard for the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic:
“There is no merit whatsoever to this filing. The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Disney has fully complied with Ms. Johansson’s contract and furthermore, the release of Black Widow on Disney+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date.”
What do you all make of this lawsuit? Is Scarlett Johansson right to sue Disney over Black Widow‘s Disney Plus release? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Here is the synopsis for Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow:
In Marvel Studios’ action-packed spy thriller “Black Widow,” Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.
Directed by Cate Shortland from a script written by Eric Pearson based on a story by Jac Schaeffer and Ned Benson, the Marvel film stars Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, O-T Fagbenle, Ray Winstone, Olivier Richters, and Rachel Weisz.
The film is out now in theatres and Disney Plus via Premiere Access. Stay tuned for all the latest news surrounding Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit and be sure to subscribe to Heroic Hollywood’s YouTube channel for more original video content.
Source: The Wall Street Journal