Black Widow: Scarlett Johansson stars in latest Marvel trailer
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Scarlett Johansson’s, 36, legal team have filed a lawsuit against Disney for breaking her contract over new Marvel film Black Widow. The movie is yet another spin-off in the Avengers franchise, which they claimed as being “intentionally” released on Disney Plus at the same time it hit theatres at the beginning of July.
Disney intentionally induced Marvel’s breach of the agreement
Scarlett Johansson’s legal team
They continued to add that the decision has impacted Johansson’s box-office compensation as the move “depressed ticket sales”.
The suit reads: “Disney intentionally induced Marvel’s breach of the agreement, without justification, in order to prevent Ms. Johansson from realising the full benefit of her bargain with Marvel.”
They later tried to renegotiate her contract after the release strategy was changed, stating: “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 honour its contracts,” said John Berlinski, an attorney at Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP who represents the star.
Black Widow is the latest film in the franchise, which premiered on July 9 simultaneously on the studio’s subscription-based streaming service for a premium $30 price, while also making its debut on the big screen.
The move was understood to have been made as the entertainment industry attempts to recover from Covid closures and capacity restrictions.
It raked in $80 million in North America and earned an additional $78 million overseas, with $60 million made via Disney Plus.
But ticket sales noticeably declined in subsequent weeks, currently standing at $319 million globally.
These current figures put it on track to become one of the lowest-grossing Marvel movies of all time.
The Wall Street Journal, which first broke the news of the lawsuit, reports sources close to Johansson said the decision to release the film concurrently on Disney Plus resulted in an estimated $50million loss.
But Disney has since hit back at the lawsuit, claiming there’s “no merit”.
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“There is no merit whatsoever to this filing,” their statement reads.
“The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In times before the pandemic hit, usually Hollywood films would typically premiere three months or so before they were available to watch via streaming services.
But as Covid posed new challenges, major studios have been mixing cinema releases and streaming in different ways.
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