Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney over its decision to release superhero movie Black Widow on streaming platforms at the same time as in theaters, alleging a breach of contract which cost the star millions of dollars.
Johansson, one of Hollywood’s biggest and top-paid stars, was entitled to a percentage of box office receipts from the much-anticipated Marvel film, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday at Los Angeles Superior Court.
The film was originally due for a big-screen release last year, but was delayed multiple times due to the Covid-19 pandemic and was eventually released this month simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+.
Box office analysts have cited the film’s streaming debut as a major factor in a lackluster — by Marvel film standards — release for a film that has grossed just over $150 million in domestic theaters in three weeks.
“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,” said Johansson’s attorney John Berlinski in a statement to AFP.
Amid this ongoing legal and public relations battle between Disney and Scarlett Johansson, Women in Film, Los Angeles, ReFrame and Time's Up, along with her talent agency CAA have come out in support of the Black Widow actor.
The USD 319.8 billion entertainment media conglomerate had called Johansson’s Black Widow breach of contract lawsuit a “callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Disney also disclosed her base salary of USD 20M for the Marvel Cinematic Universe film exclaiming that the Disney Plus with Premier Access will compensate her well enough. In response to this, the advocacy organizations, issued a joint statement. The statement read, “While we take no position on the business issues in the litigation between Scarlett Johansson and The Walt Disney Company, we stand firmly against Disney’s recent statement which attempts to characterize Johansson as insensitive or selfish for defending her contractual business rights.”
Calling out Disney, the statement further continued, “This gendered character attack has no place in a business dispute and contributes to an environment in which women and girls are perceived as less able than men to protect their own interests without facing ad hominem criticism.”...