ScarJo Sues Disney over the hybrid release of Black Widow citing millions in lost box office revenue. Then, Disney fires back and Feige reportedly unhappy with Disney about the situation. Let’s begin with the lawsuit shall we?
ScarJo Sues Disney
Scarlett Johansson had a deal on Black Widow which meant she was due a share of the box office profits. After the first week of release, when Black Widow was doing well, nothing was said. However after the box office drooped off a cliff on week two, Johansson’s lawyers filed a suit against Disney for lost earnings. To be honest it’s hard to argue that Black Widow has made less money in theatres due to the Hybrid release. I myself along with a few LRM colleagues watched at home. One assumes ScarJo’s deal does not include how many people paid for premium access, but we don’t know the full details right now.
The initial report on Johansson suing Disney came from the Wall Street Journal.
Disney’s Fires Back
Disney’s response to the lawsuit was detailed by Variety.
“There is no merit whatsoever to this filing,” Disney’s statement reads. “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.””
One of Johansson’s attorney’s then told Variety this.
“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,” John Berlinski, an attorney for Johansson, said in a statement to Variety. “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.”
Feige Reportedly Unhappy With Disney
So how does Marvel boss Kevin Feige feel about all this? Well, officially Feige has remained quiet, however according to former THR editor Matthew Belloni in his latest What I’m Hearing… newsletter, Feige is not happy with the Mouse.
“[Feige is] a company man, and not prone to corporate showdowns or shouting matches. But I’m told he’s angry and embarrassed,” Belloni writes. “He lobbied Disney against the day-and-date plan for Black Widow, preferring the big screen exclusivity and not wanting to upset his talent. And then when the sh-t hit the fan, the movie started tanking, and Johansson’s team threatened litigation, he wanted Disney to make this right with her. (Disney declined to comment on Feige.)”
Well after all that I’m not sure what I have to say? On one hand we are talking about multi-millionaires fighting over extra millions of Dollars and right now that seems to out there for some fans to, well, care I guess? Then again, the profits for Black Widow on Disney+ are there, so is Disney simply trying to ensure they get a bigger slice of the pie, and perhaps less concerned about ScarJo because she already left the franchise?
Is Disney being cheap, or is ScarJo being a diva? One would guess this will never go before a court. I’ll assume cooler heads will eventually prevail and a deal will be struck that Johansson’s camp is happy with. Outside of that, I gotta be honest and say I won’t lose any sleep worrying over whether Johansson can feed her kids tomorrow. At the same time I think Disney right now are being tighter than two coats of paint. Disney is one of the few companies who bounced back like a boss from the pandemic, so just put your hand in your pocket Mr. Chapek eh?
Also….You know Black Widow was a fairly average movie, so maybe the box office drop does have something to do with that? What do you think as ScarJo sues Disney, then Disney fires back and all that jazz?
As always, leave any thoughts you have below.