Avengers: Endgame director Joe Russo has spoken out against The Walt Disney Company’s “disturbing” treatment of Scarlett Johansson over the Black Widow release controversy.
The Marvel film was delayed until last year due to the pandemic, when Disney released it in cinemas and on Disney+ through Premium Access on the same day. Johansson filed a lawsuit as her pay was tied to the box office gross and not streaming revenue, and a settlement was reached out of court.
Speaking about the whole scenario in an interview with Den of Geek, Russo shared: “We’re certainly concerned with the trend in the market that’s moving away from artists. There’s been a lot of value in tech companies getting involved in making content, but there’s also some downsides to that.
“And those downsides include tech companies like Netflix and Apple and Amazon having much deeper pockets than studios do, and they can pay more and that’s starting to scare the studios.
“So the studios are having a conservative reaction, and they’re trying to downplay their need for stars. They’re trying to force IP to be their star, and in accordance with that they’re also then trying to underpay and diminish the need for stars on their projects.
“That was really not an appropriate way for them to handle that situation. It was disturbing to us as artists. Scarlett is a good friend of ours, and we were disheartened by how it was handled. We’re glad it’s resolved.”
Russo also predicted that moviegoers would begin to “crave new ideas” as studios and corporations “become more pedantic and factory-like with the execution of their current IP”, and plans to lead that charge by continuing to invest in lower-budget with fresh ideas like Everything Everywhere All at Once.