UPDATE: Disney has responded saying, “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 … The release of Black Widow on Disney+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20 million she has received to date.”
In a shocking turn of events on Thursday, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Scarlett Johansson, star of Marvel Studios’ Black Widow and longtime member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has filed a lawsuit Thursday against Disney, alleging that the company has breached her contract.
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The lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges that Disney willfully breached their contract with Johansson when the company released Black Widow on Disney+ at the same time as its theatrical debut.
“Disney intentionally induced Marvel’s breach of the agreement, without justification, in order to prevent Ms. Johansson from realizing the full benefit of her bargain with Marvel,” the suit says (via The Wall Street Journal).
According to the lawsuit, Johansson alleges that her agreement with Disney’s Marvel Entertainment guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release, and her salary was based in large part on how the film performed at the box office.
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Disney began releasing movies simultaneously on Disney+ and in theaters early last year, thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic that rendered going to the movie theaters essentially impossible. Since then, tons of other companies have followed suit, and while actors have opened up on the concerns of how contracts will be handled when it comes to streaming films, none have taken things as far as to sue a studio over it, until now.