Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney over the company’s simultaneous release of her latest Marvel Cinematic Universe film “Black Widow” in both theaters and on the streaming platform Disney+.
The actor said in the suit that the company breached her contract when Disney released the film, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The theatrical release of “Black Widow” had been delayed multiple times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was first scheduled to hit theaters last year, then was pushed to May and then finally released July 9, Screenrant reported. The Disney+ release was not free to subscribers, however; it included an additional $30 rental fee.
She claims that her contract with Marvel Entertainment, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company, guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release and that her pay was based on box office performance.
“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, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Johansson’s representatives tried to renegotiate the contract, but the suit alleges both Disney and Marvel were unresponsive, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“Black Widow” has grossed more than $318 million since its debut on July 9, but between its first and second weekends, it lost 67%. The National Association of Theater Owners blasted Disney for allowing it to be shown on Disney+, IndieWire reported.
Disney responded Thursday saying that the suit had no merit and is “especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.” A spokesperson added that the company complied with the contract and that the streaming release on Disney+ “has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20 million she has received to date,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
Other companies are also showing films in theaters and on streaming platforms due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the Heights” and “Space Jam: A New Legacy” were released for a limited time on HBO Max while the films also played on big screens, Decider reported.
WarnerMedia renegotiated with stars of films that premiered in theaters and on streaming services, paying more than $200 million to stars after reaching amended agreements, The Wall Street Journal reported.
As for “Black Widow,” it will be released for digital purchase or rental on Aug. 10, CNET reported. It will be released on DVD and Blu-ray Sept. 14.
For more on the lawsuit, click here.
©2021 Cox Media Group