Marvel fans will be shocked to learn that Scarlett Johansson who plays everyone’s favourite on-screen super spy, Black Widow, is suing Disney for a breach of contract after the release of 2021’s Black Widow on Disney+, as well as theatres.
Those who have been following news relating to the recent Black Widow film will know that the film has been somewhat of a let-down at the box office in relation to more recent MCU blockbuster films like Avengers: Endgame, which earned $1.2 billion during its opening weekend.
Despite this, the film set a box office record for the COVID-19 pandemic, grossing $218 million in its first weekend.
The film was to originally be released in theatres on May 1st 2020; however, this was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film then saw another two release dates in November 2020 and May 2021, before finally releasing to theatres and Disney+ Premiere Access on July 9th 2021.
Johansson argues that the release of the film on Disney+ has deprived her of earnings which she otherwise would have received with an exclusively theatrical release. She also claims that it was promised that the film was to be a theatrical release by Marvel Studios.
The lawsuit alleged that Disney wanted to keep the revenue whilst also increasing the Disney+ subscriber count.
Disney has since issued a response to the lawsuit, with The New York Times reporter, Brooks Barnes, sharing Disney’s statement on Twitter. Disney states that they have fully adhered to Johansson’s contract, and that her salary had in fact benefited from the release on the streaming platform.
Disney gives a "no merit whatsoever" response to Johansson's pay lawsuit and calls it "sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic."
— Brooks Barnes (@brooksbarnesNYT) July 29, 2021
The full statement reads:
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 compiled with Mrs Johansson’s contract and furthermore, the release of Black Widow on Disney+ with Premiere Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20 million she has received to date.
With this lawsuit against Disney, it is very likely that Johansson’s time within the MCU is officially over.