Scarlett Johansson Files a Lawsuit Against Disney over the Streaming of “Black Widow”
Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney for allegedly breaching her contract by releasing the superhero film “Black Widow” on streaming at the same time as it was released in theaters.
According to a complaint filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Johansson, one of Hollywood’s biggest and highest-paid performers, was entitled to a part of the box office revenues from the highly anticipated Marvel film.
The film was supposed to be released in theaters last year, but it was repeatedly postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreak, and it was finally released this month in theaters and on Disney+.
The film’s streaming premiere has been mentioned by box office analysts as a major factor in the film’s disappointing – by Marvel picture standards – opening. The film has grossed just over $150 million in domestic theaters in three weeks.
“It’s no secret that Disney is putting films like Black Widow directly into Disney+ in order to gain subscribers and hence improve the company’s stock price – and that it’s using Covid-19 as a pretext to do so,” Johansson’s attorney John Berlinski told AFP.
“This will undoubtedly not be the last time that Hollywood stars stand up to Disney and make it plain that, no matter what the firm claims, it has a legal obligation to honor its contracts,” he added.
A representative for Disney, which owns Marvel Studios, denied the complaint, saying AFP in a statement that the company had not broken any contracts and that the lawsuit had “no validity whatsoever.”
“The lawsuit is especially sad and depressing in its callous disdain for the Covid-19 pandemic’s devastating and long-term worldwide effects,” it stated.
Disney, like many other Hollywood companies, is increasingly focusing on streaming as a source of future revenue, a move that will be exacerbated by the shutdown of movie theaters when the epidemic strikes in spring 2020.
Following the film’s opening weekend, Disney released a statement saying that “Black Widow” had made “over $60 million” on Disney+, where it was accessible for an additional $30 to subscribers.
According to Johansson’s claim, she “extracted a commitment from Marvel that the release of the Picture would be a’theatrical release,'” which she interpreted to indicate that it would not be available on streaming until a conventional “window” of time had passed.
“Disney, on the other hand, aimed to draw the audience away from movie theaters and towards its. Brief News from Washington Newsday.