Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney over the release of the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, Black Widow, in which she headlines. The lawsuit comes after Johansson claims that the movie's launch on Disney Plus directly broke the contract of the film star, which stated that the movie was to release exclusively in theatres.
This breach is a particularly personal one for Johansson, as her contract also stated that she would be entitled to a portion of the box office sales of the movie, which has been affected due to the almost simultaneous release on Disney's streamer via the Premier Access platform.
First reported by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the lawsuit alleges that the Disney Plus movie release cost Johnasson more than $50 million, and that after learning of the launch on the streamer, Johannson and her representatives sought to renegotiate her contract to reflect the new release plans. According to WSJ's report on the lawsuit, Marvel and Disney were "unresponsive" to these discussions.
In the lawsuit, there is mention of an email with Marvel Chief Counsel Dave Galluzi, where it is reportedly stated that there would be need to negotiate Johnasson's contract should the movie launch on the streamer. The lawsuit also states, "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."
In a recent response to the lawsuit, Disney has stated (reported on by The New York Times' Brooks Barnes on Twitter) that they give "no merit whatsoever" to Johansson's claims, even going as far as saying it's "sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic."
Disney has also affirmed that it "fully complied" with Johnasson's contract, and that the movie's launch on Disney Plus even "significantly enhanced" Johansson's chance to earn more money on top of the payments she has received so far.