Entertainment

Scarlett Johansson Sues Disney Over Black Widow Release

Scarlett Johansson is extremely displeased with Disney. On Thursday, July 29, Johansson filed a lawsuit complaint with the Los Angeles Superior Court suing Walt Disney for streaming “Black Widow ” on its streaming platform, Disney+,  the same day that it was released in theatres. 

The star claims that it was a direct breach of her contract. Disney’s Marvel Entertainment promised her an exclusive theatrical release, which meant that her salary was based on how successful her solo film performed in the box office. 

With movie theatres slowly reopening in major cities across the country due to Covid-19 still being ramped, it is only logical for Disney to include “Black Widow ” into their line up of cross platform releases; seeing how Cruella was such a huge success in both, the box office and streaming on Dinsey+.

“Ignoring the contracts of the artists responsible for the success of its films directly violates their rights… This will surely not be the last case where Hollywood talent stands up to Disney and makes it clear that the company has legal obligations to uphold it’s contracts,” said John Berlinski, an attorney at Kasowitz Benson Torres ,who represents Johansson. 

Scarlett Johansson and her team have been in talks with Disney, as far back as 2019, to assure her rights in her contract when the company planned on launching the streaming service. 

The lawsuit also includes a response from Marvel’s chief counsel, “we understand that should the plan change, we would need to discuss this with you and come to an understanding as the deal is based on a series of (very large) box office bonuses.” 

The lawsuit also claims that Johansson attempted to reach out to Marvel when she was made aware that the film would be available on the streaming service, but Disney and Marvel never responded. The contract for “Black Widow ” was negotiated and signed long before the Covid-19 pandemic started and was never re-worked when Disney decided to do hybrid releases to keep up with the company’s standards. 

Black Widow accumulated around $80 million during its opening weekend, which makes it the highest opening release of any movie in theatres since March 2020. Currently, the film has made over $150 million and Disney+ made $60 million during its opening weekend, but has not disclosed any more information about revenue since then. 

The Wall Street Journal and CNBC contributed to this article.

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Malik Patterson

Malik Patterson is a journalism student at California State University, Northridge. He has attained an Associates of Arts in Cinema and Broadcasting at Chaffey College. He will also be graduating with a Bachelor's Degree of Arts in Journalism with an emphasis in Broadcasting in May 2021. Malik is also a member of the National Honors Society and a member of the National Association of Black Journalists. In his spare time, he has a podcast that has been running since May 2020, called the 2Brothers Podcast exclusively on YouTube. He sees himself working as a sports broadcaster and anchor for a major network in the near future. He has a true passion for sports and also coached track and field at two high schools in the past: Etiwanda High School and Alta Loma High School, both located in Rancho Cucamonga, CA.

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