Scarlett Johansson Is Now Suing Disney over 'Black Widow' Streaming on Disney+

BY Brock ThiessenPublished Jul 29, 2021

If you're sick of hearing about Black Widow day in and day out here on the internet, we're sorry to report that it's in the news yet again today. The film's star Scarlett Johansson has filed a lawsuit against Walt Disney Co. claiming the studio breached her contract by releasing the movie on the Disney+ streaming service at the same time it arrived in theatres.

Yes, the world is literally burning and there's a virus trying to kill us all, but rich celebs are still being rich celebs and whining about their money.

Today Johansson filed a lawsuit alleging breach of contract in Los Angeles Superior Court. The suit claims that by the studio pushing viewers towards Disney+, the company wanted to grown its subscriber base and boost its stock price. And all this came at the expense of Johansson, whose 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 one.

The suit goes on to claim that "Disney's financial disclosures make clear that the very Disney executives who orchestrated this strategy will personally benefit from their and Disney's misconduct." It points a finger at Disney CEO's Bob Chapek's equity grants "totaling 3.8 times his $2.5 million base salary" in 2021, with the "primary justification" for that pay bump being the launch launch of direct-to-consumer services.

The lawsuit also states that Disney executive chairman Bob Iger received the "overwhelming majority" of his $16.5 million USD compensation in the form of stock grants.

As the lawsuit puts it: "In short, the message to — and from Disney's top management was clear: increase Disney+ subscribers, never mind your contractual promises, and you will be rewarded."

Johansson's lawyer John Berlinski had this to say 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."

As of press time, Disney has not responded to the lawsuit, which you can read in full here courtesy of Deadline.

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