Scarlett Johansson sues Disney for releasing “Black Widow” in theaters and on Netflix at the same time.
On Thursday, Scarlett Johansson filed a lawsuit against Disney in Los Angeles Superior Court over the release of Black Widow. She believes her contract was broken when the picture was distributed on Disney+ at the same time as it was released in theaters, according to the lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit, Johansson’s contract with Disney’s Marvel Entertainment secured an exclusive theatrical release for Black Widow, and a large portion of her pay was contingent on the film’s box office success. She claims that because the superhero film was available on the Disney streaming service at the same time as it was in theaters, many people chose to see it at home instead of coming to the theater.
According to the claim, “Disney purposefully induced Marvel’s breach of the agreement, without justification, in order to prevent Ms. Johansson from enjoying the full benefit of her arrangement with Marvel.”
During the COVID-19 outbreak, Disney announced a plan to release movies on Disney+ at the same time that they were released in theaters. Because many cinemas were closed throughout the pandemic before gradually reopening with reduced capacities at initially, the tactic proved fruitful for the streaming service.
When WarnerMedia launched its new HBO Max streaming service, it did the same. Wonder Woman 1984 was the first film released in this fashion by WarnerMedia, with the Gal Gadot-starrer receiving a Christmas Day theatrical release and a one-month run on HBO Max on the same day.
NBCUniversal, a division of Comcast Corp., recently launched a dual release for The Boss Baby: Family Business, which was released in cinemas and on the Peacock streaming service at the same time.
The dual-release idea has been slammed by several in the industry, including filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, whose Dune is set to premiere on HBO Max at the same time that it hits theaters this October after multiple delays.
Johannson is the first actor to file a lawsuit against a company over the simultaneous streaming and theater releases. Johannson’s representatives tried unsuccessfully to renegotiate her contract for Black Widow with Disney and Marvel after learning of the distribution strategy, according to her complaint.