Scarlett Johansson Sues Disney Over Black Widow's Streaming Release, Alleges Breach of Contract

Actress Scarlett Johansson filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday that alleges Disney breached her contract by releasing the highly anticipated superhero film “Black Widow” on its streaming service, Disney+.

via: People

In the lawsuit obtained by PEOPLE, Johansson, 36, said her Black Widow contract with Disney’s Marvel Entertainment was for a guaranteed exclusive movie theater release, with the bulk of her salary depending in large part on the film’s box office performance.

“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 a statement obtained by PEOPLE, her attorney John Berlinski said: “It’s no secret that Disney is releasing films like Black Widow directly onto Disney+ to increase subscribers and thereby boost the company’s stock price — and that it’s hiding behind COVID-19 as a pretext to do so. But ignoring the contracts of the artists responsible for the success of its films in furtherance of this short-sighted strategy violates their rights and we look forward to proving as much in court. 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.”

A Walt Disney Company spokesperson later released a statement slamming the lawsuit, saying: “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.”

Johansson has starred as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow since 2010’s Iron Man 2 and has since been an integral part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, specifically the company’s Avengers films.

Her character died in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. Black Widow was Johansson’s only spinoff film involving her character.

This is kind of shocking, I guess we shouldn’t expect to see Black Widow anytime in the future.

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