In a dramatic turn of events, Scarlett Johansson is now suing Disney for releasing Black Widow on its streaming service.
The thirty-six-year-old actress is the star of Disney's latest marvel blockbuster which tells the story of Natasha Romanoff, AKA Black Widow, and how she came to be the badass b**** she is. Throughout the movie, she is forced to "[confront] the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises."
The movie was initially only set to have an exclusive release in theaters, but Disney decided to also release the film on its popular streaming service, Disney+. Upon this discovery being brought to light, on Thursday, Johansson filed a complaint to Los Angeles County Superior Court. Johansson's representatives are arguing that the company violated contract terms that stated she was promised an exclusive release in theaters and that the simultaneous release of her Avengers' character's first solo film has cost her a substantial amount - a source told BuzzFeed that it was close to around $50 million.
According to the complaint, Johansson explained that a large portion of her compensation would "be based largely on 'box office' receipts" and in order to make sure this was "maximized", the company agreed to "protect her financial interests" by only exclusively releasing the film in theatres. It also outlined that the company was "fully aware" of this fact.
In a statement to the news outlet, Johansson's attorney, John Berlinski said this: "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."
He continued: "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."
However, Disney has completely dismissed Johansson's claims, stressing that there is "no merit" to these claims.
"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," s spokesperson said. "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 big-name company has been heavily criticized for their response, being slammed as "self-serving."
I'm not personally a fan of Scarlett Johansson for myriad reasons but the idea that Disney, a corporation, is chastising one individual for “callous disregard" to the pandemic when they opened their theme parks in summer 2020 makes you just wanna laaaugh laugh laugh https://t.co/KwoeLDdAwE
— Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon) July 30, 2021
"Disney is worth $130 BILLION dollars and doesn't want to pay an actress what she rightfully deserves. This statement is SO self-serving, it really disgusts me," wrote one user.
Another added: "I'm not personally a fan of Scarlett Johansson for myriad reasons but the idea that Disney, a corporation, is chastising one individual for "callous disregard" to the pandemic when they opened their theme parks in summer 2020 makes you just wanna laaaugh laugh laugh."
Me too. Why don't they just admit that they don't respect women and move on? I don't see them doing this to Chris Evans or Robert Downey Jr? But now somehow, when it comes to Scarlett Johansson, suddenly you want to play "holier than thou" and bring the pandemic into it to paint her as disrespectful? What a low blow.
Hopefully, Scarlett Johansson wipes the floor with them in court.