Shockers from Scarlett Johansson has launched a lawsuit against Disney following the release of the next MCU film and Black widow on Disney Plus.
Update: In response to the lawsuit, Disney has released a statement obtained by Variety. “There is no merit whatsoever to this filing,” it reads. “The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Furthermore, the statement says the company has upheld its end of the contract, while noting the actress has already received $20 million for her role in the film, adding that “…the release of Black Widow on Disney+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M Scarlett Johansson has received to date.” You can read the original story below.
Scarlett Johansson not giving up the fight
Black Widow hasn’t given up the fight yet. Scarlett Johansson, who reprised her role as Natasha Romanoff in the newest Marvel Cinematic Universe film, has launched a complaint against Disney, alleging that the firm breached her contract by simultaneously distributing the picture on the Disney+ streaming service and in theatres.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Johansson’s contract not only ensured the film’s exclusive theatre distribution but also that the film’s performance on the big screen would ultimately determine her income. Of course, Black Widow was supposed to be released in 2020, but it was postponed owing to the COVID-19 epidemic.
When a new release date was confirmed, it was revealed that the film would be released on July 9 in theatres and on Disney+ Premier Access. “Disney purposefully induced Marvel’s breach of the agreement, without justification,” the suit claims, “in order to prevent Ms. Johansson from enjoying the full benefit of her arrangement with Marvel.”
According to the lawsuit, Johansson’s representatives attempted to renegotiate her contract when Disney and Marvel decided to premiere the film on Disney+, but they were unresponsive. However, Marvel’s top counsel is cited as saying previously in a copy of the complaint acquired by Deadline,
“We completely understand Scarlett’s intent to perform the film and her whole arrangement is predicated on the assumption that the film will be widely released in theatres like our other films. Because the Agreement is built on a series of (very substantial) box office bonuses, we recognize that if the plan changes, we will need to discuss it with you and come to an agreement.” According to the Wall Street Journal, the actress’ decision not to renegotiate could cost her more than $50 million.
The Premier Access treatment, which allows moviegoers to watch a Disney picture at home for a limited time for a cost of $30, wasn’t limited to Black Widow. Black Widow, Mulan, Raya, and The Last Dragon, and Cruella de Vil all had this model before. Mulan was the lone film to be released exclusively through Premier Access, due to the fact that most cinemas across the world were closed. The Jungle Cruise, which will be released on July 30, will be released in theatres and on Premier Access at the same time and is the most recent Disney film to receive this treatment.
Similarly, Warner Bros. stated that their 2021 film slate would launch simultaneously on HBO Max and in theatres. Some film creatives were not pleased with the choice when it was announced towards the end of 2020, including Dune director Denis Villeneuve, who said he only learned his film will be distributed on streaming through Warner Media’s public announcement.
Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) grossed $80 million in its first weekend in the United States, with an extra $60 million in Premier Access sales. However, the next week, cinema revenue fell by 68 percent to just $26 million, a significant decline for a Marvel Cinematic Universe film. This was attributed, in part, to people pirating the film after its digital distribution, according to theatre owners, a stance reflected in Johansson’s case.”
Millions of people who would have seen the film in theatres will instead watch it on perfect digital pirated copies-all made possible by Disney’s choice to release the film ‘day-and-date on Disney+,” according to the lawsuit states. “In fact, according to the news site TorrentFreak, Black Widow was the most pirated title of the week ending July 19.”
For those who haven’t seen Black Widow yet, it’s still available in cinemas and on Disney+ Premier Access. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the next Marvel film, will be released on September 3rd. Aside from that, on November 24, the Hawkeye series will premiere on Disney+.