Scarlett Johansson‘s Black Widow lawsuit caught the world’s attention when she moved against Disney on their new release model through Disney+ Premier Access. Believing it undermined her film’s success, she made the bold move. After some public shouting matches, Disney made the first move towards the lawsuit with them starting an arbitration against the actress. Not only did it offer some more insight into the actual lawsuit but forced Disney’s hand to release their Disney+ income as a result.
So, the interesting aspect about this lawsuit is that it’s not against Marvel but Disney. It constitutes that Disney allegedly induced the Marvel division to breach the initial contract on a theatre-only release. As such, the subsidiary is excluded from the lawsuit. Johansson proclaims she was promised an exclusive release while Disney states that the film was made available on 9,000 screens with the contract only including above 1,500. Her attorney, John Berlinski, gave the following statement on Disney’s move:
After initially, responding to this litigation with a misogynistic attack against Scarlett Johansson, Disney is now, predictably, trying to hide its misconduct in a confidential arbitration. Why is Disney so afraid of litigating this case in public? Because it knows that Marvel’s promises to give Black Widow a typical theatrical release ‘like its other films’ had everything to do with guaranteeing that Disney wouldn’t cannibalize box office receipts in order to boost Disney+ subscriptions. Yet that is exactly what happened – and we look forward to presenting the overwhelming evidence that provides it.John Berlinski
The litigation did offer some insight into the film’s current standing on the Disney+ streaming service. Supposedly download retail and streaming garnered the film a total income of $125M. That is on top of the $367M that it made in theaters worldwide. So, the film currently stands at a strong $492M with it definitely passing the $500M mark if counting the streaming income. There is no certainty if it will release in China, which could boost it to pass the $600M mark.
For now, the lawsuit is not a good look for Disney, as they push forward with this strategy. There was the highlight of the contract’s wording benefiting the company than its talent. Plus, the mention of a confirmation that it’ll release in theatres back in 2019 which was before COVID changed everything. Both sides are forced to represent their perspective. So, there’s no real “winner” in these kinds of scenarios. It’ll be curious to see if Disney can take the case out of the public eye moving forward.
Source: Hollywood Reporter