Joe and Anthony Russo call Disney's treatment of Scarlett Johansson 'disturbing'

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Joe and Anthony Russo were disturbed by the way Disney executives handled Scarlett Johansson's lawsuit against the studio.

The actress sued the company last July for breach of contract after they released her film Black Widow theatrically and on streaming the same day. Her filing claimed that her pay, tied to box office gross, was negatively impacted by the simultaneous streaming release.

Disney officials and Johansson's team entered into a public war of words about her legal action, with studio executives accusing her of having a "callous disregard" of the impact of the pandemic. The matter was settled out of court in October.

The Russo Brothers, who directed Johansson as Black Widow in four Marvel films including Avengers: Endgame, said in an interview with Den of Greek that they were disheartened by the dispute.

"That was really not an appropriate way for them to handle that situation. It was disturbing to us as artists. Scarlett is a good friend of ours, and we were disheartened by how it was handled. We're glad it's resolved," Joe said.

He added that he sees the Black Widow incident as part of a growing trend where studios place more importance on intellectual property (IP) than on movie stars.

"Tech companies like Netflix and Apple and Amazon (have) much deeper pockets than studios do, and they can pay more and that's starting to scare the studios," he said. "So the studios are having a conservative reaction, and they're trying to downplay their need for stars. They're trying to force IP to be their star, and in accordance with that they're also then trying to underpay and diminish the need for stars on their projects."

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