Scarlett Johansson has just filed a complaint against Disney in a California court. She blames the entertainment giant for releasing the Black Widow movie on Disney + at the same time as in theaters. His contract allows him to touch part of the revenue, which is necessarily lower with simultaneous streaming.
Black Widow is the latest film from Marvel Studios and the first to be seen in theaters in a long time. If in France, you have to go to dark rooms (with a health pass, of course), this is not the case in the United States and in other countries of the world. If it is possible to go to the cinema to see the film, it is also available on Disney +, at an additional cost.
A decision that was made by Disney in the wake of the pandemic, but which did not please lead actress Scarlett Johansson at all. She just sued the studio for breach of contract. The latter would be pretty clear that the film was only to receive a theatrical release, according to her.
Black Widow represents a shortfall of $ 50 million for the actress
Behind this action, there are obviously big money stories. Scarlett Johansson, who had the title role for the first time in a Marvel, was to receive a share of the revenue from the admissions. By releasing his film on his service, Disney would therefore have consciously cut part of his salary, according to the complaint:
“Disney knew that the cannibalization of cinema tickets by Disney + would save Marvel a very significant amount of money, which would be owed to Ms Johansson. Disney intentionally broke the contract, without justification, which prevented Ms. Johansson from making full use of the film’s proceeds. “
All in all, the American actress would know a shortfall of $ 50 million. A hell of a lot. The complaint states that the studio also aimed to boost its Disney + subscriber base by releasing the film on its platform. A strategy that we know to be effective, its latest blockbusters (Mulan, Raya, Luca, Cruella) having allowed it to exceed 100 million users.
For its part, Disney obviously does not agree with this observation. In a statement, a spokesperson responded to the complaint. The studio believes that it will not suit anyone and that it does not take into account the particular context:
“This case is sad, painful and does not take into account the horrific and prolonged effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Disney has perfectly respected Ms Johansson’s contract and moreover, the arrival of Black Widow on Premier Access dollars ”.
Black Widow, a film postponed several times
The point is, Black Widow has, like many other films, suffered the full brunt of the pandemic. As a reminder, it was originally due out in May 2020, then was postponed for a few months in the fall, then again and again, to finally arrive in July 2021 in theaters and on Disney +, and this against the advice of Kevin Feige , the boss of Marvel Studios.
Also read – Marvel unveils the first trailer for the Eternals, see you on November 3, 2021
According to The Hollywood Reporter, this one is on the actress’s side, since he would be “very angry and embarrassed” by this simultaneous exit. For months, he indeed lobbied Disney to keep the film as a theatrical exclusive, which is why Black Widow has been repeatedly pushed back instead of releasing straight to the platform. He eventually gave in and Black Widow is on Disney +, which also leads to massive hacking.
With the pandemic, Disney and other Hollywood studios had to improvise to keep up with their schedules. Mickey’s company, for example, did not hesitate to release all its blockbusters on Disney +, at an additional cost. Warner, for his part, decided to bet on HBO Max. All of these 2021 blockbusters are coming to streaming, which didn’t necessarily please the directors and actors involved. This case is also far from being resolved.
In any case, in an industry where streaming is gaining more and more importance in the face of movie theaters, the Scarlett Johansson vs. Disney case is likely to set a precedent.