The actor’s lawsuit says that her compensation for the movie was “largely based” on Black Widow’s box office performance, and had “extracted a promise from Marvel that the release would be a ‘theatrical release’.’
It continues: “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.”
In response to Johansson, Disney released a statement, telling The Independent: “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.”
Johansson, whose lawsuit says Disney “intentionally induced Marvel’s breach of the Agreement” to prevent her “from realising the full benefit of her bargain”, has been supported in her decision to take action against the studio.
“I don’t care how rich Scarlett Johansson already is,” wrote journalist Tomris Laffly. “She was f***ed over through a breach of contract and she should sue. You can’t really claim that you support professional women to demand what they’re worth and promised and then be like, ‘Except her, she’s doing fine as is.’”
Another Twitter user, who specialises in law, wrote: “When someone says you breached a contract and you start talking about global pandemics, you 100 per cent breached that contract.”
“Disney is worth $130 BILLION dollars and doesn’t want to pay an actress what she rightfully deserves. This statement is SO self-serving, it really disgusts me,” another added.
As it stands, Black Widow is one of the lowest-grossing Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films to date with global takings of $319.5m (£229m), a figure that cinema owners are attributing to the simultaneous streaming release.
The film, which is Johansson’s character’s long overdue standalone outing, is expected to be her final MCU appearance. It was originally scheduled to be released in May 2020, but was delayed until June 2021.