Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson (36) has sued U.S. entertainment giant Disney in a dispute over her new film “Black Widow.”
In court in Los Angeles, the actress filed a lawsuit for breach of contract. This is directed against the simultaneous release of the Marvel film “Black Widow” in theaters and on the streaming platform Disney+, as reported by U.S. media with reference to the court documents.
This simultaneous release violated contractual agreements, Johansson says in the statement of claim.
She had been promised an exclusive movie release on the big screen when she signed the contract in 2017 – her earnings were based on theatrical revenues.
The Disney group rejected the accusations with sharp words.
It said this claim was unfounded and also “downright sad and unfortunate” because it “callously” disregards the global impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Successful despite pandemic.
In the statement, Disney went on to say that they had honored the contract. Johansson’s streaming release would have further enhanced her earning potential – on top of the $20 million she already received.
“Black Widow” had been released July 9 in U.S. theaters and simultaneously on Disney+. Johansson had previously portrayed the character from the Marvel universe several times, but this was her first solo film centered on the combative agent. The film, directed by Australian Cate Shortland, tells the backstory of Natasha Romanoff, the spy known as Black Widow.
More and more studios are embracing the new marketing strategy of releasing movies simultaneously on the big screen and via streaming. The Corona pandemic had most recently driven this hybrid model after many theaters were closed or operating at lower capacity for months. Usually, there are many weeks or months between the theatrical release and the subsequent streaming release on screens.
According to the New York Times, “Black Widow” grossed $158 million worldwide in its first three days in theaters. In addition, the film also grossed around $60 million on its opening weekend via the Disney+ streaming channel.