Disney fired back against Scarlett Johansson Thursday after the Marvel actress filed a lawsuit against the studio for releasing “Black Widow” on Disney +.
Johansson claims she was guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release for the film and that much of her salary is tied to box office performance.
“This filing has no merit,” Disney said in a statement Thursday. “The lawsuit is particularly sad and harrowing because it ignores the dire and ongoing global impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
“Disney has fully complied with Ms. Johansson’s contract, and the release of ‘Black Widow’ on Disney + with Premier Access has significantly improved her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $ 20 [million] she has received to this day, “she added.
View of a billboard above El Capitan Entertainment Center promoting Marvel Studios’ Black Widow on June 22, 2021 in Hollywood, California.
AaronP / Bauer-Griffin | GC images | Getty Images
According to the actress’s lawsuit, Johansson’s representatives had asked for assurances back in 2019 that “Black Widow” would hit theaters. There were concerns that Disney executives might use the film to replenish its new streaming service Disney +.
Johansson’s lawsuit cited a response from Marvel’s chief attorney stating that “Black Widow”, like other films, would be released in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That said, it would have a theatrical release before it hit the home video market.
“We understand that if the plan changes, we need to discuss this with you and come to an agreement as the deal is based on a number of (very large) cash bonuses,” the response said.
That statement was made months before the pandemic that disrupted the theatrical industry and forced studios to change their theatrical release strategies.
The file claims that when Johansson heard that “Black Widow” would be streamed and released in theaters the same day, he tried to negotiate with Marvel. Disney and Marvel didn’t respond.
It’s unclear how much Johansson was paid to play Natasha Romanoff in the film, or whether Disney’s alleged $ 20 million payout includes any of the movie’s current box office wins.