Black Widow star Scarlett Johansson has filed a lawsuit that alleges Disney breached her contract by releasing the movie on its streaming service.
The highly anticipated film was released in theaters and on Disney+ simultaneously, which the lawsuit claims broke an agreement between the company and the actress.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges that the star agreed that her salary would be based on Black Widow’s box office haul.
“To maximize these receipts, and thereby protect her financial interests, Ms. Johansson extracted a promise from Marvel that the release of the picture would be a ‘theatrical release,’” the suit claimed.
“As Ms. Johansson, Disney, Marvel, and most everyone else in Hollywood knows, a ‘theatrical release’ is a release that is exclusive to movie theatres. Disney was well aware of this promise, but nonetheless directed Marvel to violate its pledge and instead release the picture on the Disney+ streaming service the very same day it was released in movie theatres.”
“Disney intentionally induced Marvel’s breach of the agreement, without justification, in order to prevent Ms. Johansson from realizing the full benefit of her bargain with Marvel,” the suit said.
Disney responded and said that “there is no merit whatsoever to this filing” and that the suit is “especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
A spokesperson for Disney said in a statement: “Disney has fully complied with Ms. Johansson’s contract and furthermore, the release of ‘Black Widow’ on Disney+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20 million she has received to date.”
One of the highest-paid actresses in the world, Johansson has an estimated net worth of $165 million.
Black Widow’s box-office performance plunged 67 percent after the opening weekend, leading experts to question whether Disney’s streaming service was taking a huge bite out of the ticket sales.
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