Scarlett Johansson Suing Disney Over Black Widow

Grae Stockhausen

The movie was released on July 9th and was an immediate success, bringing in $80 million in North American theaters and $60 million globally on Disney+. The streaming momentum for the movie has since slowed down, and the earnings are now at $318 million worldwide.

Whenever a new movie comes out, there is always a 90 day period where the movie is only out in theaters, then it is streamed online. Actors in the movies get most of their profits from how much was made from the theater. When Black Widow was released, it was streamed online and in theaters at the same time, that grace period for box office profits was completely voided. In March, Disney released a statement saying that Black Widow would be released on their streaming platform as well as in theaters. 

Because of that, Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney for breaching her contract and breaking it. 

“To maximize these receipts, and thereby protect her financial interests, Ms. Johansson extracted a promise from Marvel that the release of the picture would be a ‘theatrical release,’” the suit claimed. “As Ms. Johansson, Disney, Marvel, and most everyone else in Hollywood knows, a ‘theatrical release’ is a release that is exclusive to movie theatres. Disney was well aware of this promise, but nonetheless directed Marvel to violate its pledge and instead release the picture on the Disney+ streaming service the very same day it was released in movie theatres” (CNN). 

The lawsuit alleges that Johansson agreed to a large part of her salary coming in from the film’s box office haul and Disney agreeing to stream Black Widow in theaters for that 90 day period. The largest issue with it is that it came out on both Disney+, Disney’s widely known streaming platform, and in theaters. With the global pandemic still ravaging the world and people finding comfort in their homes, the movie was mostly streamed online, meaning Johansson didn’t get the amount of money she was promised.