Disney is being sued by Scarlett Johansson, star of “Black Widow,” who claims her contract was infringed when the picture was released on Disney+ at the same time as its theatrical debut.

According to Ms Johansson, her contract with Disney’s Marvel Entertainment secured an exclusive theatrical distribution, and her salary was predicated in part on the box office performance of the picture.

Film grosses $218m (£157m) in the first weekend, a record for the Covid-19 epidemic. It was only after that box office receipts plummeted, claiming that Johansson was robbed of prospective riches.

A Disney spokesperson responded by stating that her contract had been “completely complied with” and that her claim had “no validity whatsoever”. Johansson said she had been promised a “theatrical release” by Marvel Studios, owned by Disney.

According to her understanding of the statement, there would be a 90-day “window” before it was streamed to the public.

The pandemic forced many Hollywood studios to post their films online instead of in movie theatres, which had been shuttered in large numbers.

Along with Warner Bros., Disney has chosen to pursue a dual release approach for their essential pictures now that most cinemas have reopened.

Black Widow grossed about $80 million in North America and $78 million internationally in its opening weekend, plus at least $60 million in Disney+ Premiere Access rentals.

According to media reports, sources close to the actor, whose compensation was predicated on the film’s box office performance, believe she lost $50 million.

Walt Disney responded by arguing that Johansson’s opportunity to obtain further remuneration on top of the $20 million she has already received was “substantially improved” by the dual release approach.

“Her legal action is unfortunate and worrisome because it shows a callous disregard for the horrible and lasting worldwide repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic,” it added in a strong statement.

His agency retaliated, accusing Disney of trying to damage Johansson’s character “in a shameless manner.” As Bryan Lourd said in a statement, “Scarlett has worked with Disney on nine films that have made Disney and its shareholders billions.”

As if her success as an artist and businesswoman were something she should be embarrassed about, the company disclosed her income in its news release.


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