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Scarlett Johansson Suing Disney Over 'Black Widow' Breach of Contract

Source: Disney / Marvel

Not even Doctor Strange using the time stone could have seen this coming.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Black Widow star Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney, claiming a contract breach relating to the simultaneous release in theaters and Disney Plus. According to the publication, Johannson’s contract reportedly assured her that the film would be released exclusively in theaters.

“Disney intentionally induced Marvel’s breach of the agreement, without justification, to prevent Ms. Johansson from realizing the full benefit of her bargain with Marvel,” the lawsuit states.

The WSJ reports that a large portion of Johannson’s salary was based on how the movie performed at the box office. According to sources close to the situation familiar with the lawsuit, Black Widow premiering on Disney Plus Johansson lost more than $50 million.


According to the actress’s complaint, her representatives made an effort to have her contract renegotiated after learning the film would be released in both theaters and on Disney Plus as Premiere Access premiere. According to the suit, Disney and Marvel Studios were “unresponsive” to these discussions, the Wall Street Journal reports.

IGN claims that Johansson was worried about the film being released as a Premiere Access title before the pandemic and sought “assurances” that her solo film would have a traditional theater release. According to an email within the suit, Marvel Chief Counsel Dave Galluzzi allegedly told Johansson’s reps that conversations would need to be had because Johansson’s ” deal is based on a series of (very large) box office bonuses.”

Black Widow was well received by critics and fans following its release and opened to an $80 million domestic box office debut, a pandemic record. The movie also brought in 60 million on Disney Plus, proving that if people want to watch certain movies at home, they would be willing to pay the extra fee on top of their subscription prices. The movie slumped the following week quickly and was outperformed by Space Jam: A New Legacy, which angered many theater owners who blamed the sharp drop on streaming.

Movie contract renegotiations in this particular situation are nothing new. In fact, WarnerMedia renegotiated many of its actors for this very reason. So that gives Johansson a solid argument in her case.

We are intrigued to see how this plays out because it could shake the movie industry as it still tries to navigate the pandemic and find its footing.

Photo: Disney / Marvel