Black Widow: Scarlett Johansson Sues Disney Over Theatrical/Streaming Release
Black Widow star Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney for releasing the MCU film simultaneously on Disney+ and in theaters.
Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney over Black Widow being released simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+.
The Wall Street Journal reports Johansson alleged Disney breached her contract by doing a dual release for Black Widow. The lawsuit filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court states Marvel Entertainment guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release for Black Widow, with her salary based on the film’s box office performance, which was diminished due to it also being available on Disney+ Premier Access.
“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,” the suit reads. Disney did not provide a statement when reached for comment.
One of Johansson’s representatives, attorney John Berlinski, chimed on this not being the last time talent decides to take Disney to court. “This will surely not be the last case where Hollywood talent stands up to Disney and makes it clear that, whatever the company may pretend, it has a legal obligation to honor its contracts,” he said.
Another new piece of information to come out of the lawsuit reveals representatives for the Black Widow star attempted to renegotiate her contract after Disney announced its plans to pivot and release the Marvel Cinematic Universe film in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access on the same day. That news was announced in March of this year. However, the complaint revealed Marvel and Disney were unresponsive to the renegotiation request. Another request by Johansson’s representatives in 2019 reportedly asked for assurances Black Widow would remain a theatrical release.
A March 2019 email from Marvel Chief Counsel Dave Galluzzi reportedly said Black Widow‘s release would follow a traditional theatrical model. “We understand that should the plan change, we would need to discuss this with you and come to an understanding as the deal is based on a series of (very large) box office bonuses,” the email reportedly stated.
Johansson is reportedly projected to lose more than $50 million because of Black Widow‘s dual release.
Much has been made over the box office performance of the MCU film. In a surprising move, Disney released the opening weekend streaming numbers for Black Widow. It amassed over $60 million globally on Disney+ Premier Access. However, the National Association of Theatre Owners countered by blaming this release strategy on Black Widow’s dropoff at the box office in its second weekend.