Two-time Academy Award nominated Scarlett Johansson has filed a case against Disney over the release of her Black Widow film over the OTT platform Disney+. Her case against the billion dollar earning media conglomerate comes after her film Black Widow, where she’s seen playing the character by the same name, released on OTT platforms as well as theaters, instead of only being released in theaters.
Recently, Marvel’s Black Widow was released across the world (except India) on July 9. The film opened with cold and harsh reviews by critics and has also not fared on the box office. Interestingly enough, a new development has come forward where Johansson, who plays Black Widow in the film – sued the largest media conglomerate in the world.
So, what is the whole Scarlett Johansson Black Widow Case about?
According to reports, Johansson sued the Walt Disney Company for allegedly breaching the contract both the parties settled on as the production company decided to release the film in theatres as well as OTT streaming service Disney+.
Avoiding all the legal jargons, if one tries to understand the case in a nutshell, it’s not that challenging. Apparently, Scarlett had struck an agreement with Marvel Entertainment (owned by Disney), which involved that Black Widow will be a theatre exclusive. Further, her remuneration was also based how much money the film makes on the box-office.
“Disney Is Releasing Films to Increase Disney+ Subscribers”
However, Johansson’s legal representative argued that the film releasing on both theaters and streaming platform can have an effect on the sales of the tickets.
“It’s no secret that Disney is releasing films like ‘Black Widow’ directly onto Disney Plus 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,”
-Johansson’s attorney said in his statement.
“Violation of artists’ rights and short-sighted strategy”
“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. This will surely not be the last case where Hollywood talent stands up to Disney and makes it clear that, whatever the company may pretend, it has a legal obligation to honor its contracts,”
What the Black Widow Collection Figures Tell?
It should be noted that “Black Widow” has opened with $80 million in North America and $78 internationally. It further earned $60 million on Disney+ thanks to the $30 rental fee. While the numbers may appear fantastic, they slowly have plateau down over the course of subsequent weeks and overall, the film has earned $319 million, as opposed to the over $1 billion most Marvel films are expected to.
Disney Issues Unusually Harsh Response
After reports of Johansson suing Disney started making rounds on the internet, Disney issued a press release which said how there’s no “merit” to the case and further labelled the lawsuit as “sad” and “distressing”.
“The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.”