Though fans celebrated the release of Black Widow on Disney+ after multiple delays, one person specifically was not a fan of this choice—Scarlett Johansson. News has it that Johansson is now suing Disney and the studio has also fired back.
As per Variety, Johansson is suing Disney for releasing Black Widow on Disney+, which is a breach of their agreement as a huge chunk of Johansson’s compensation was dependent on the box office performance of the film.
Johansson’s attorney John Berlinski says:
“It’s no secret that Disney is releasing films like Black Widow directly onto Disney Plus to increase subscribers and thereby boost the company’s stock price – and that it’s hiding behind Covid-19 as a pretext to do so… But ignoring the contracts of the artists responsible for the success of its films in furtherance of this short-sighted strategy violates their rights and we look forward to proving as much in court. This will surely not be the last case where Hollywood talent stands up to Disney and makes it clear that, whatever the company may pretend, it has a legal obligation to honor its contracts.”
On Disney’s end, they say that Johansson’s filing has ‘no merit whatsoever’ and is ‘‘especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Disney said that Johansson had already received $20 million for her work and that the release of Black Widow on Disney+ had ‘significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation’.
After multiple delays and falling interest in the film, it’s understandable that Disney would want to release Black Widow the soonest it could. Though COVID-19 is a very legitimate reason to withhold the film, fans believe that a renegotiation was in order with Johansson—something Disney didn’t provide any information about.
We don’t know how Johansson v Disney is going to end, but for now, you catch Black Widow in theaters and on Disney+ for premiere access.