Scarlett Johansson has spent the bulk of her recent career battling bad guys on screen.
Now, however, the actress is trying to take a brand new fight to court.
Johansson has filed a lawsuit against Disney for releasing Black Widow on its streaming service, Disney+, which she alleges was a breach of contract.
The superstar's lawyers claim that Marvel had originally planned to release Black Widow exclusively in theaters -- and, by making a change to also release it via streaming, the studio depressed ticket sales for the Avengers spinoff.
A great deal of Johansson’s compensation was tied to the box office performance of the film; if it hit certain benchmarks, bonuses would kick in.
“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,” the filed documents read.
Disney announced in March that Black Widow would premiere simultaneously on the studio’s subscription-based streaming service, for a premium $30 price, as well as on the big screen.
It did this due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the concern that very few people would want to sit in a public movie theater.
“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 Avengers actress' attorney, John Berlinski, argued in his lawsuit.
Earlier this month, meanehile, Johansson confirmed that she would NOT be returning for any more Marvel movies after Natasha Romanoff’s origin story was delved into via Black Widow.
Said the actress back then:
“Honestly, I feel like it’s always, it feels great to leave a party when it’s still raging and I think that this film feels very much like it’s alive and fresh and powerful and I feel really pleased with it.
"I feel really happy with the work that we’ve done for this decade of time and, you know, it’s bittersweet to say, ‘Goodbye.'
"But if you love something, you need to set it free!”
In response to this lawsuit, Disney has released a statement.
It hurls Johansson pretty far under a bus, as the company is clearly trying to paint the star as out of touch and greedy.
Reads the statement:
This 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 onDisney+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date.
The Wall Street Journal reports that sources close to Johansson estimate that the decision to release the film concurrently on Disney Plus resulted in $50 million in lost bonuses.
“It’s no secret that Disney is releasing films like Black Widow directly onto Disney Plus to increase subscribers and thereby boost the company’s stock price.
"It’s hiding behind Covid-19 as a pretext to do so,” the attorney for Johansson said in a statement to Variety.
“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."