Actress Scarlett Johansson on Thursday sued the Walt DisneyCo. over its streaming of the Marvel superhero movie “Black Widow” at the same time it played in movie theaters. Her lawyers allege that this breached her contract and deprived her of potential earnings.
the “Black Widow ” star and executive producer said in her lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, that her contract guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release and the dual release strategy had reduced her compensation, which was based partly on box office receipts.
Disney dismisses allegations, says Johansson earned $20 million to date
“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 (€16.8 million) she has received to date.”
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Johansson’s lawsuit claims that Disney wanted to drive audiences toward Disney+, “where it could keep the revenues for itself while simultaneously growing the Disney+ subscriber base, a proven way to boost Disney’s stock price.”
the suit seeks unspecified damages which are to be determined at trial.
After being delayed for more than a year due to coronavirus, “Black Widow” debuted to a pandemic-best of $80 million in North America and $78 million from international theaters on its opening weekend. But theatrical grosses declined sharply after that, making it less lucrative than some other Marvel blockbusters.
the movie generated $60 million through Disney+ purchases, Disney said.
dvv/msh (AP, Reuters)