It looks like the Black Widow drama might leave its scars internally. There have been various hints that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige was a strong contender for Disney to wait out the pandemic for a pure theatrical release. Yet, Disney moved forward with pulling it on their streaming platform. This decision has now recently led the film’s lead, Scarlett Johansson, to file a lawsuit against the company. Disney’s backlash by calling out her actions may have stirred up some discomfort within the company. Hollywood Reporter’s Matthew Belloni shared a “What I’m Hearing” newsletter that hints at Feige being unhappy with the overall release and seemed to have predicted the potential lawsuit.
[Feige is] a company man, and not prone to corporate showdowns or shouting matches. But I’m told he’s angry and embarrassed He lobbied Disney against the day-and-date plan for Black Widow, preferring the big screen exclusivity and not wanting to upset his talent. And then when the sh-t hit the fan, the movie started tanking, and Johansson’s team threatened litigation, he wanted Disney to make this right with her.
This report matches what has been talked about for some time and opens up the question about Disney and Marvel Studios’ relationship moving forward. It also doesn’t bode well for Disney CEO Bob Chapek‘s current run as the new head of the company, after only recently taking over from Bob Iger. The hope of utilizing the streaming service within the pandemic made sense, but it seems they simply moved forward without consulting internally.
Of course, it’s not an easy decision to make, but this move could leave some scars between the house of mouse and its subsidiary. It also reveals the limitations of what Feige can decide and with backlash after backlash, Jungle Cruise may lead to similar events. It’s Disney’s hands to do the right thing, but their first legal and public action left a sour taste. So, we’ll keep an eye out on how this develops.