Disney Responds To Scarlett Johansson's 'Black Widow' Lawsuit

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Photo credit: Amy Sussman - Getty Images
Photo credit: Amy Sussman - Getty Images

Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney over her latest Marvel movie Black Widow's streaming release.

Legal representatives for the actress filed a suit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday (July 29) alleging that Johansson's contract was breached when Disney released Black Widow on its Premier Access service on Disney+ at the same time as its theatrical window.

The suit claims Johansson's contract for the Marvel Cinematic Universe movie stipulated that her salary would be tied to Black Widow's box office performance (via WSJ).

Black Widow made more than $80 million (£57m) at the US box office and another $78 million from other markets in its opening weekend, with Disney reporting it also made more than $60 million (£43m) in its initial release on Premier Access.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Johansson's attorney John Berlinski has said of the suit: '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.'

A Disney spokesperson told Deadline: 'There is no merit whatsoever to this filing. The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Disney has fully complied with Ms. Johansson’s contract and furthermore, the release of Black Widow on Disney+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date.'

Prior to the film's release, Black Widow director Cate Shortland spoke about the decision to release the film on streaming after more than a year of delaying its cinema release due to COVID-19.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

'Well, we made this film to be seen in cinemas, and it's not so much seen in cinemas, it's felt in cinemas because we created the sound, and the music, and just the huge beautiful spectacle was to be seen on a big screen,' she told Deadline.

'So, as a director, I want people, if they're safe, to see it in that environment, but I know some people can't for a lot of reasons. So, it's really cool that other people will still get to see the movie.'

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