BLACK WIDOW Star Scarlett Johansson Reportedly Sues Disney Over Streaming Release

Scarlett Johansson is reportedly suing Disney for breach of contract, claiming that she was hurt financially when Marvel's Black Widow was released simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+.

Well, this could get very interesting.

The Wall Street Journal (the trades have since weighed in) is reporting that Black Widow star Scarlett Johansson has filed a lawsuit against the Walt Disney Co., alleging that her contract was breached when the Marvel Studios movie was released on Disney+ and in theaters at the same time.

Apparently, Black Widow had been guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release when Johansson signed on to reprise the role of Natasha Romanoff.

“Why would Disney forgo hundreds of millions of dollars in box office receipts by releasing the Picture in theatres at a time when it knew the theatrical market was ‘weak,’ rather than waiting a few months for that market to recover?” the lawsuit states “On information and belief, the decision to do so was made at least in part because Disney saw the opportunity to promote its flagship subscription service using the Picture and Ms. Johnasson, thereby attracting new paying monthly subscribers, retaining existing ones, and establishing Disney+ as a must-have service in an increasingly competitive marketplace.”

Black Widow actually performed very well upon release, with Disney claiming that $60 million of its opening weekend revenue came from the streaming service's Premier Access. However, it did suffer a massive second week drop, which was at least partially attributed to the Phase 4 movie being available to stream from home.

The actress also claims that Disney was aware that making the movie available to stream would dissuade theatre attendance, but "did so anyway, knowingly and intentionally."

Cate Shortland's Black Widow almost certainly marked Johansson's final appearance as Romanoff, but there was always a chance she'd still be involved with the multi-billion dollar franchise in some capacity moving forward. Obviously, that's now looking a bit less likely!

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