Here’s a Marvel plot twist no one saw coming. Scarlett Johansson has reportedly filed a lawsuit against the Walt Disney Company while alleging that it breached her contract because it “induced” Marvel Studios to release Black Widow on Disney . According to a source for the Wall Street Journal, the dual release strategy “cost Ms. Johansson more than $50 million,” which prompted her legal team to file the lawsuit on Thursday:
Ms. Johansson said in the suit that her agreement with Disney’s Marvel Entertainment guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release, and her salary was based in large part on the box-office performance of the film.
“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 couldn’t be reached immediately for comment.
As the Wall Street Journal notes, this lawsuit certainly won’t be the last as studios scrambled to release films on streaming during the pandemic and shortened theatrical windows. WarnerMedia’s abrupt decision to release its entire 2021 film slate on HBO Max caused shockwaves in Hollywood and may have severed the studio’s relationship with Christopher Nolan.
Johansson’s lawsuit also arrives on the heels of the National Association of Theatre Owners calling out Disney for hurting Black Widow‘s box office take by releasing it on streaming. Considering a portion of that box office haul was contractually promised to Johansson, her attorney believes she has a strong case that will embolden more actors to push back.
“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,” John Berlinski told the Journal.
(Via Wall Street Journal)