Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney for $20 million in damages, alleging that the company’s decision to release a new “Black Widow” movie on Disney+ without her involvement violated an agreement she had with Marvel.
Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney over the release of Black Widow on Disney+ because she believes that Marvel Studios have violated her contract.
On Thursday, actress Scarlett Johansson filed a complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging that Disney violated her contract by releasing the highly anticipated superhero picture “Black Widow” on Disney+, the company’s streaming service.
The picture was distributed on the service and in cinemas at the same time, according to the lawsuit, which violated an agreement between the actor and the studio. According to the lawsuit, Johansson agreed that her pay for the film would be determined in part by the film’s box office success.
“To maximize these revenues and therefore safeguard her financial interests, Ms. Johansson secured a guarantee from Marvel that the film would be released as a ‘theatrical release,’” according to the lawsuit. ” A ‘theatrical release,’ as Ms. Johansson, Disney, Marvel, and almost everyone else in Hollywood knows, is a release that is only available in movie theaters. Despite the fact that Disney was fully aware of this commitment, it ordered Marvel to break it by releasing the film on the Disney+ streaming service the same day it was released in theaters.”
Disney (DIS) reacted on Thursday, saying the lawsuit has “no merit whatsoever” and is “particularly sad and disturbing in its callous disdain for the terrible and long-term worldwide consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic.”
“Disney has completely cooperated with Ms. Johansson’s contract, and the release of ‘Black Widow’ on Disney+ with Premier Access has substantially improved her potential to earn further pay on top of the $20 million she has earned to far,” according to a Disney spokesman.
The news was originally reported by the Wall Street Journal.
The litigation comes at a critical time for Hollywood, since the epidemic has accelerated a number of trends at the same time. While movie theaters and the box office battle to return to normality after a pandemic that decimated the industry, streaming has become a focal point in Hollywood.
In March, Disney made headlines when it revealed that “Black Widow” will be shown simultaneously in cinemas and on Disney+ for a fee. Because of the epidemic, the film had to be postponed many times. It was initially scheduled to be out in May of 2020.
While other studios have done same-day streaming and theatrical releases, the announcement of “Black Widow” stood noteworthy since Marvel is Hollywood’s greatest blockbuster brand, with almost $23 billion in worldwide box revenue since 2008.
It was an instant hit for Disney in cinemas and on streaming, grossing $80 million in North America and $60 million worldwide on Disney+ since its July 9 premiere. According to Comscore, the film’s pace has slowed since then, and it currently has a global gross of about $318 million (SCOR). That’s hardly a big budget for a Marvel movie.
As the epidemic continues, further problems have emerged as studios move their big blockbusters to streaming. For example, when Warner Bros. aired “Wonder Woman 1984” on HBO Max and in theaters in December, the company allegedly paid actress Gal Gadot and director Patty Jenkins each more over $10 million. Warner Bros. and CNN are both owned by WarnerMedia.)
“It’s no secret that Disney is putting films like Black Widow straight into Disney+ in order to attract subscribers and therefore raise the company’s stock price — and that it’s using Covid-19 as a pretext to do so,” said John Berlinski, Johansson’s attorney, to CNN Business. “However, disregarding the contracts of the artists responsible for the success of its films in order to pursue this short-sighted approach is a violation of their rights, and we look forward to establishing that in court.”
“This will undoubtedly not be the last instance where Hollywood talent stands up to Disney and makes it plain that, whatever the corporation may claim, it has a legal duty to respect its commitments,” he said.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why did Johansson sue Disney?
Disney has not yet responded to the question.
Did Disney breach their contract with Scarlett Johansson?
The film studio did not breach their contract with Scarlett Johansson, as she was contracted to appear in the film.
How much was Scarlett Johansson promised for Black Widow?
Scarlett Johansson was paid $15 million for her role in the 2018 film Black Widow.
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