Scarlett Johansson Sues Disney Over Black Widow’s Disney+ Release
Disney’s decision to simultaneously release Black Widow in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access appeared to pay off on opening weekend. According to Disney itself, that resulted in a $200 million worldwide opening. However, the Marvel movie’s box office has subsequently fallen off fast. Now, Scarlett Johannson is taking legal action and suing Disney over that release strategy.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Johansson has filed a lawsuit against Disney that alleges her contract was breached by the decision to put Black Widow on Disney+ Premier Access instead of giving the film a theatrical exclusive window. Her suit also states that “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.” Johansson’s contract was apparently tied to Black Widow‘s box office performance. Her lawsuit estimates that putting the movie on Disney+ may have cost her $50 million.
John Berlinski, one of Johansson’s attorney’s, also issued a statement to The Wall Street Journal.
“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.”
Another unusual aspect of this lawsuit is that Johansson didn’t even wait for the film to leave theaters. However, Black Widow will have a shorter theatrical run than Marvel’s previous movie. It will hit Blu-ray on September 14, and the non-Disney+ digital release is happening on August 10.
The National Association of Theatre Owners has also bashed Disney for Black Widow‘s Disney+ release.
“Why did such a well-made, well-received, highly anticipated movie underperform?”said NATO in a statement. “Despite assertions that this pandemic-era improvised release strategy was a success for Disney and the simultaneous release model, it demonstrates that an exclusive theatrical release means more revenue for all stakeholders in every cycle of the movie’s life.”
What do you think about Johansson’s lawsuit against Disney? And who will prevail? Or is a settlement more likely to happen than a court battle? Share your predictions in the comment section below!
Recommended Reading: Marvel Knights Black Widow by Grayson & Rucka: The Complete Collection
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