Scarlett Johansson files suit against Disney over release of 'Black Widow' on Disney+

Scarlett Johansson
Posted at 3:28 PM, Jul 29, 2021

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — “Black Widow” star Scarlett Johansson has reportedly filed a lawsuit against the Walt Disney Company, claiming her contract was breached because the Marvel movie was released on Disney+ at the same time it was shown in theaters.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the lawsuit Thursday, in which Johansson says her agreement with Disney’s Marvel Entertainment guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release.

The Oscar-nominated actress may have lost a significant amount of money due to the dual release of the film, since her salary was largely based on its box-office performance, WSJ reports.

Because the film was available to watch the streaming service for a $30 rental, many people chose not to see it in theaters.

When the film premiered in the U.S. earlier this month, The Hollywood Reporters reports it earned $60 million on Premiere Access, pushing the film’s total global total to about $218 million for the opening weekend.

A person familiar with Johansson’s contract reportedly told WSJ that the decision to put “Black Widow” on Disney+ is projected to have cost the star more than $50 million.

Entertainment companies have been taking this dual approach to releasing films during the COVID-19 pandemic in an attempt to make up for the lack of people buying tickets to see movies in theaters.

According to the suit, which was also obtained by Variety, Johansson is accusing Disney of choosing to “placate” Wall Street investors and “pad its bottom line” rather than allow Marvel to comply with its agreement with the actress.