Disney Responds to Scarlett Johansson’s ‘Black Widow’ Lawsuit

Black Widow Scarlett Johansson
Jay Maidment/ ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved

Update (7/29/2021, 6:00 p.m. ET):

After Scarlett Johansson filed a lawsuit against Disney on Thursday, the company is responding to her allegations of a breach of contract.

In Johansson’s filing is the claim that Disney pushed Black Widow on streaming service Disney+ in order to bolster digital release success and shut her out of potential box office revenue. According to The Hollywood Reporter, a Disney spokesperson is responding to the lawsuit with the following statement:

“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 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 $20M she has received to date.”

Original Story (7/29/2021, 3:10 p.m. ET):

Scarlett Johansson has reportedly filed a lawsuit against Disney regarding a breach of contract tied to the release of her Marvel film Black Widow.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a suit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday, July 29, alleging that her contract was breached when Disney released the film on its streaming service Disney+ under the premier access banner. In the suit, Johansson reveals her agreement with Disney’s Marvel Entertainment guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release.

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Considering that Johansson’s salary was reliant on the film’s box-office performance, the issue being charged against the company states, “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 complaint further states that Johansson’s representatives attempted to renegotiate her contract after learning about Disney’s plan for dual releasing the film in theaters and on Disney+, but they were met with no response. The alleged breach of contract could cost Johansson more than $50 million, the suit claims.

Black Widow Scarlett Johansson Marvel

(Credit: ©Marvel Studios)

Overall during Black Widow‘s opening weekend, the film grossed $80 million at the domestic box office and $78 million overseas with an additional $60 million made through Disney+, leaving a good chunk of funds off the table for Johansson. The actress has appeared in several films as Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow, and this titular film is her ninth and final feature with Marvel.

Disney+ has become a Marvel hub in the last few months as it expands the MCU through shows like WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, and the forthcoming Hawkeye, which recently announced its premiere date for November 24.

Black Widow, Streaming now, Disney+