Scarlett Johansson is done with Disney after playing Black Widow for the final time in the recent standalone movie of the same name. Now that’s she retired from playing the superhero character, she’s suing the company for breach of contract — so things aren’t so rosy in the Marvel universe.
The issue is over the company’s decision to simultaneously release Black Widow in movie theaters while allowing it to be streamed at home by consumers on Disney +, per People. According to the actress, that’s not exactly what they agreed upon when she signed her contract. The agreement demanded a theatrical release only because she made money off the profits from the film’s box office receipts, which means there apparently wasn’t a streaming profit-sharing clause in her contract (and remember, Black Widow on Disney + comes with a $29.99 Premier Access price).
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“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, in court documents obtained by People. Johansson’s attorney John Berlinski is steaming mad about the breach of contract, too. In a statement to the entertainment site, he explained that Disney was “hiding behind COVID-19 as a pretext” to release Black Widow on their streaming network to “increase subscribers and thereby boost the company’s stock price.” He also warned the company, “This will surely not be the last case where Hollywood talent stands up to Disney and makes it clear that, whatever the company may pretend, it has a legal obligation to honor its contracts.”
Johansson might as well jump in line behind The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) because they’re also angry at home of Mickey, per CNBC. They believe the movie “underperform[ed]” at the box office because of the Disney + streaming option. With so many movie theaters closed during 2020, NATO was counting on that additional revenue to help get them back on track. These hybrid releases aren’t going away anytime soon, as this weekend’s Jungle Cruise is also following that same model.
So we’re keeping a watchful eye on Johansson’s case, she might be the leader in a long line of lawsuits from Hollywood actors and theater owners who aren’t loving the magic of Disney right now.
Before you go, click here to see the most important celebrity lawsuits over the past 15 years.