Scarlett Johansson best known for playing Black Widow in the MCU has reportedly filed a lawsuit against Disney alleging a contract breach. The actress has claimed that Disney did not honour its commitment to release the film only in theatres, and simultaneously made it available on the streaming platform Disney+.
Scarlett revealed that the actress' pay cheque was tied to the box office performance of Black Widow, and she suffered financial losses due to its dual release. According to Wall Street Journal, the suit said, "Disney intentionally induced Marvel's breach of the agreement, without justification, in order to prevent Ms Johansson from realising the full benefit of her bargain with Marvel."
Meanwhile, Variety quoted sources close to Scarlett telling WSJ that the simultaneous online release of Black Widow resulted in losses of $50 million (around Rs 371 crore). On the other hand, a spokesperson for Disney said that the company "fully complied" with her contract.
Disney has also claimed that the streaming release of Black Widow had "significantly enhanced her (Scarlett's) ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20 million she has received to date".
A statement by the studio called the allegations "especially sad and distressing". "There is no merit whatsoever to this filing. The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic," said the studio's spokesperson.
Black Widow, originally set to release in May 2020, debuted in theatres and on Disney+ (for an additional fee) in the US and several other countries on July 9. The film faced a delay due to the pandemic and was released when many theatres across the globe are still shut down. Notably, Black Widow is yet to release in India and is expected to arrive on Disney+ Hotstar in October 2021.