Scarlett Johansson, longtime Marvel actress and star of the new superhero blockbuster “Black Widow,” filed a lawsuit against the movie studio in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday.
Scarlett Johansson sues Disney over ‘Black Widow’ streaming release, which ‘ignores’ contract
Disney now has a bigger problem than Thanos to deal with.
In the suit, Johansson said her deal with Marvel Studios guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release and that her salary was based largely on box office results.
The lawsuit includes a March 2019 email in which Marvel chief counsel Dave Galluzzi said the release would go on a traditional theatrical model.
“It’s no secret that Disney is releasing movies like ‘Black Widow’ directly on Disney+ to increase subscribers to boost the company’s stock price, and hiding behind COVID-19 as a pretext for doing so,” said Johansson’s attorney, John Berlinski.
“But ignoring the contracts of the artists responsible for the success of her films for the sake of this short-sighted strategy violates her rights, and we look forward to proving it in court.”
Surely this won’t be the last case in which Hollywood talent stands up to Disney and makes it clear that, regardless of what the company intends, it has a legal obligation to honor its contracts.
“Because of the pandemic, Disney – like other studios – has had to rethink its film release strategy.
This year, for major releases such as “Stingray and the Last Dragon,” “Cruella” and, most recently, “Black Widow,” the company offered Disney+ subscribers the films on the same day as in theaters for an additional $29.99 Premier Access fee.
The Marvel film set a box office record earlier this month with an $80 million opening weekend in domestic theaters.
Disney announced that the film also initially grossed an additional $60 million worldwide through Disney+, but has since declined to release streaming figures.
Johansson did not attend the “Black Widow” premiere or red carpet events, but did give press interviews for the film.