Scarlett Johansson vs. Disney: "Black Widow" Actress Sues Company
Further lawsuits may still follow
The first Marvel movie from the fourth phase, "Black Widow", has barely been released, and already there is a lot of turmoil behind the scenes. The reason for this is the release policy of the streaming service Disney+, which is causing the actors massive financial losses. This is also the case for Scarlett Johansson, who has filed a lawsuit against her former employer, according to the Wall Street Journal. The accusation: breach of contract on the part of the movie giant. Allegedly, on paper, it states that "Black Widow" will receive an exclusive theatrical release. It further states that Johansson has a share in the worldwide box-office takings, meaning that these account at least for a significant part of her final fee. Given that the film was released in theaters alongside a VIP access on Disney+, however, the actress feels she is at a disadvantage.
The theatrical release of the Marvel blockbuster initially ran to the full satisfaction of all involved with 158 million US dollars in sales on the first weekend, but crashed a week later with an internal all-time low for Disney. There are many explanations, but the most decisive of them is certainly the parallel release on Disney+, which generated another $60 million on the first weekend in addition to all the theatrical revenue. Of these 60 million, however, not a cent will go to Johansson and the already shaken cinema operators, as the profit goes straight to Disney.
In an official statement, the company relativizes the action and even calls the lawsuit "devastating" in view of the still prevailing pandemic. It will be exciting to see how the verdict in the case of Johansson against Disney will turn out. After all, a decision in favor of Scarlett Johansson could trigger a veritable surge of similar lawsuits.