Black Widow star Scarlett Johansson is filing a lawsuit against Disney. The star is claiming her contract was breached when the company made the decision to release Black Widow on Disney+ with Premier Access on the same day as its theatrical release.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Johansson said in the suit that her agreement with Disney’s Marvel Entertainment guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release, and her salary was based in large part on the box-office performance of the film. The film took a box office hit due to piracy and Premier Access didn’t help those numbers. The suit states “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.”
Per Johannson’s representatives, the plan was to renegotiate her contract after learning of the dual-release strategy for Black Widow, which she has said is her ninth and final Marvel movie. Disney and Marvel were unresponsive, the suit said The decision to put the movie on Disney+ is projected to cost Johansson more than $50 million, a person familiar with details of her contract claimed. Johannson was already to start to worry that the film would make the move to streaming due to the pandemic.
After posting a near $40 million opening day (including Thursday previews), many in the industry believed that Black Widow could reach $90 million. Disney is typically very conservative on their box office projections, however, they knew with the Disney+ Premier day-and-date theatrical factor, that Black Widow‘s fate would be closer to the $80 million range. Disney announced that the film had a $60 million opening on Premier Access. Additionally, Samba TV measured that 1.1 million U.S. terrestrial TV households tuned into Black Widow which translates into an estimated near $33 million. The film is currently sitting at a $318 million worldwide box office total.
The Premier Access isn’t quite finished yet, as Disney’s Jungle Cruise debuts tonight on Disney+ and in theaters tomorrow. There have been unconfirmed rumors that Premier Access will come to an end following Jungle Cruise.
It is unknown what this news means for the upcoming Tower of Terror movie, which has Johannson attached as a producer, with the idea of her in the starring role.