Thursday, April 18, 2024

War: Scarlett Johansson Sues Disney Over “Black Widow” Streaming, Says Supposed to Have Only Theatrical Run


Natasha Romanoff is very mad.

Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney-Marvel claiming “Black Widow” was only supposed to be released in theaters. She’s saying the Disney Plus simultaneous release violated her contract and cut into box office receipts.

“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 according to the Wall Street Journal.

This is war.

This is also brave of Scarlett. She’s taking a chance on cutting off doing business with all of Disney, which encompasses Marvel, Lucas Films, Searchlight and various off shoots of 20th Century Fox.

Disney wasn’t the only studio to launch simultaneous releases in theaters and on streaming since the pandemic made theater going sketchy. Warner Bros. has been releasing all its films on HBO Max at the same time. Disney is charging 30 bucks on Disney Plus for the likes of “Cruella” and “Jungle Cruise.” In he case of “Cruella,” the difference could be what it prevented the Emma Stone starrer from hitting $100 million.

“Black Widow” has made just $158 million domestically and a total worldwide of $318 million. It’s possible it could have made over $200 million in the US if it had just been in theaters.

What if everyone starts doing this?

“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,” said John Berlinski, an attorney at Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP who represents Ms. Johansson.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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