Disney lashes at Scarlett Johansson for suing it on taking 'Black Widow' to streamer

WION Web Team
New Delhi, IndiaUpdated: Jul 30, 2021, 09:28 AM IST


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Post Scarlett Johansson's lawsuit against Disney for taking Black Widow simultaneously to Disney+ on the day of its theatrical release, Walt Disney Co. has responded with a statement. They dismiss the lawsuit, labelling it has no "merit". 

After ‘Black Widow’ actress Scarlett Johansson sued Disney breaching contract with her as the studio released the Marvel film on Disney+ streamer at the same time of its theatrical release. This thus caused her losses as it siphoned potential theatergoers, costing her potential compensation tied to the movie’s theatrical revenue.

The lawsuit claims that, by steering audiences to Disney+, the media conglomerate wanted to grow its subscriber base and boost its stock price. Yet that was at the expense of Johansson, whose compensation would “largely be based on box office receipts,” according to the lawsuit, while she “extracted a promise from Marvel that the release” of Black Widow would be a theatrical release.

Responding to the lawsuit, the Walt Disney Co. has fired back at the actress and called the litigation a “callous disregard” to the Covid-19 pandemic and even revealed that she has so far received $20 million from the project.

A Disney spokesperson said, “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. 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.”

Meanwhile, Johansson’s attorney, John Berlinski of Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, said in a statement: “It’s no secret that Disney is releasing films like Black Widow directly onto Disney+ 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. 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.”

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and names the Walt Disney Company as the sole defendant.