Disney Slams Scarlett Johansson Over “Callous” Black Widow Lawsuit

Disney is firing back at a lawsuit filed by Scarlett Johansson.

Earlier on Thursday, news broke that the Black Widow actress had filed a lawsuit against the Marvel parent company over its release of the movie on Disney+ through Premiere Access at the same time it hit theaters.

“There is no merit whatsoever to this filing,” a spokesperson said, according to Deadline. 

“The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the statement continues. 

“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.”

The terms of what the actress would make based on the performance on Disney+ via Premier Access have not been revealed.

The lawsuit, obtained by The Wall Street Journal, alleges that the decision for the hybrid release strategy breached her contract and could ultimately cost the star more than $50 million.

“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 alleges.

What’s more, it was also alleged that Scarlett’s representatives tried to renegotiate her contract when the movie was revealed to be having a day and date theater and streaming launch.

But both Disney and Marvel reportedly did not respond.

Black Widow was initially set for May 2020 but was hit with a string of delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Movie theaters worldwide were closed, and in many territories, they are just starting to reopen.

The hybrid release model was revealed earlier this year, with Disney adding a $30 surcharge for Disney+ subscribers who wanted to watch the movie at home as opposed to venturing to cinemas.

When the movie launched earlier this month, it racked up over $60 million from Disney+ Premiere Access in its opening weekend alone.

It also made $80 million at the box office in the U.S.

To date, it has made $318 million at the box office, but no up-to-date figures have been revealed for Disney + watchers.

“Today’s announcement reflects our focus on providing consumer choice and serving the evolving preferences of audiences,” said Kareem Daniel, chairman of Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution at the time the movie was pushed to Disney+.

“By leveraging a flexible distribution strategy in a dynamic marketplace that is beginning to recover from the global pandemic, we will continue to employ the best options to deliver The Walt Disney Company’s unparalleled storytelling to fans and families around the world.”

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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