Scarlett Johansson has filed a lawsuit before the Superior Court of Los Angeles against Disney, alleging that the launch of ‘Black Widow’ on Disney Plus is a breach of their contract.
Johansson said his deal with Marvel Entertainment and Disney guaranteed him an exclusive theatrical release, and that his salary was based, in large part, on a performance for a box office production.
John Berlinski, who is Johansson’s attorney, told CNBC that Disney’s strategy for launching ‘Black Widow’ in streaming is directly aimed at increasing subscribers to the platform, and thus “driving up the share price of the company, and that hides behind Covid-19 as a pretext to do it “. However, ignore artist contracts.
“This surely won’t be the last case where Hollywood talent takes on Disney and makes it clear that whatever the company is trying to do, it has a legal obligation to honor its contracts.”
Once Johansson heard that “Black Widow” would be released in streaming and in theaters the same day, he tried to negotiate with Marvel, however, neither Kevin Feige’s company nor Disney commented on the matter.
This is not the first time that this type of problems with similar contracts have come to light, since due to the pandemic the studios have taken certain freedoms in terms of their releases. As with Disney, Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins received a total of $ 10 million each after Warner Bros. decided to change strategy with the premiere of ‘Wonder Woman 1984’.
Rumors claim that both Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake were seeking bonuses for the change that happened at the launch of Universal’s ‘Trolls World Tour’, which first premiered in VOD format before hitting theaters.
While ‘Black Widow’ has been a hit for the mouse company’s platform, Johansson didn’t seem pleased with the change in plans. Above all, because Disney is profiting from a contract that was not fulfilled as it should.
Johansson, who has become a staple of the MCU, negotiated a contract that included a percentage of the film’s theatrical earnings, however ticket sales may have been hurt by the streaming release.
The film only grossed an amount of $ 80 million during its first opening weekend, which, yes, is a large number, but it is not what you usually achieve with an MCU production. Nationwide, the movie has grossed just over $ 150 million in its first three weeks, but again, Marvel productions typically don’t gross less than $ 700 million.