Scarlett Johansson, the star of Marvel‘s latest Black Widow, is suing Disney for breaching her contract.
According to her lawsuit filing on July 29 in Los Angeles Superior Court, Disney was not supposed to premiere the film on Disney+ at the same time as its theatrical release. “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 states.
“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,” Johansson’s attorney, John Berlinski of Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, shares with Deadline. “But ignoring the contracts of the artists responsible for the success of its films in furtherance of this short-sighted strategy violates their rights and we look forward to proving as much in court.”
The movie set a box office record despite the pandemic, earning $218 million USD on its first weekend. However, that achievement was short-lived. According to The Wall Street Journal, Johansson lost a total of $50 million USD due to the film being available on the streaming service.