Scarlett Johansson Sues Disney for Breach of Contract - Update, Disney Responds

Scarlett Johansson Sues Disney for Breach of Contract - Update, Disney Responds


Jay Cochran - July 29, 2021
UPDATE: According to THR, Disney has issued a statement rejecting claims made by Johansson and her lawyers:

“There is no merit whatsoever to this filing. The 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 on Disney+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date.”


It is being reported by Variety that Black Widow star Scarlett Johansson has filled a lawsuit against Disney this week in Los Angeles Superior Court for breach of contract on the Black Widow movie. Lawyers for Johansson state that the her contract was breached when the studio choose to not to debut the film exclusively in theaters which they claim depressed ticket sales for the Avengers stand-alone movie. Her lawyers claim that the actress's salary was partly based on the film’s box office performance and that Johansson was promised an exclusive theatrical release.

“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,”

Black Widow was shown in both theaters and on Disney+ at the same time. On it's opening weekend the movie reportedly brought in $80 million in North America and $78 million overseas. Because of the extra $30 premium fee Disney charged for people to watch the movie at home on Disney+, it brought in an additional $60 million there. After the opening weekend ticket sales began to drop fairly substantially and right now its brought $319 million in globally. This puts Black Widow on track to become one of the lowest-grossing Marvel movies to date.
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Comments...

Last 10 comments - ( Read All Posts )
MarvelousFan87 - 2021-08-04 @ 11:45 pm

I support my on screen crush no matter what! lol

Gigantor - 2021-08-03 @ 2:55 pm

OK, that makes more sense to me as to why she is suing the mouse.

Satam - 2021-08-03 @ 6:15 am
On 8/3/2021 at 1:39 AM, Gigantor said:

If I'm not mistaken, Disney already paid her. She got mad cuz they also released it on D+ when I guess she was under the assumption that it was just gonna be released only in theatres so she also wants a cut of the D+ moola. That's where the "greedy" part comes in imo.

You're partially mistaken. Like many stars, her contract included a back end deal, where she would receive a cut of the profits after the movie grossed a certain amount at the box office, which releasing the movie on Disney+ prevented, as this cut into theater revenue. Her representatives sought assurances in advance that the movie would be released exclusively in theaters. "In response, Marvel Chief Counsel Dave Galluzzi promised a traditional theatrical bow, while adding 'We understand that should the plan change, we would need to discuss this with you and come to an understanding as the deal is based on a series of (very large) box office bonuses.'" When her people reached out again to renegotiate after learning the movie would premiere on Disney+ and in theaters simultaneously, Marvel and Disney were apparently "unresponsive."This is all in the Variety and Wall Street Journal articles

Gigantor - 2021-08-03 @ 5:39 am
On 8/2/2021 at 7:44 PM, mako said:

Well let's look at it another way. If your place of employment suddenly stopped paying YOU your normal wage would it be greedy if you took them to task over it? Would it matter if you already had some money?

If I'm not mistaken, Disney already paid her. She got mad cuz they also released it on D+ when I guess she was under the assumption that it was just gonna be released only in theatres so she also wants a cut of the D+ moola. That's where the "greedy" part comes in imo.

mako - 2021-08-03 @ 12:44 am
On 8/2/2021 at 5:31 PM, Gigantor said:

Imo, it's being greedy when you're already a multimillionaire 20x over & are griping over even more $$. Just flat out greed of $$ in this world.

Well let's look at it another way. If your place of employment suddenly stopped paying YOU your normal wage would it be greedy if you took them to task over it? Would it matter if you already had some money?

Gigantor - 2021-08-02 @ 10:31 pm
On 8/2/2021 at 1:06 PM, mako said:

How is it "greedy?" If someone hired you to do a job for such-and-such amount, but they decide NOT to pay you that amount, you're gonna get in their face. It's not being greedy, it's just expecting what was agreed upon.

It doesn't matter if your bussing tables or making a billion dollar epic, a contract is a contract.

Imo, it's being greedy when you're already a multimillionaire 20x over & are griping over even more $$. Just flat out greed of $$ in this world.

mako - 2021-08-02 @ 6:06 pm
On 7/31/2021 at 12:09 PM, Gigantor said:

Monkee see, Monkee do. By this time next week, half of Hollywood actors/actresses that worked for the Mouse will be filing suit. Gotta love $$ greedy rich people.

How is it "greedy?" If someone hired you to do a job for such-and-such amount, but they decide NOT to pay you that amount, you're gonna get in their face. It's not being greedy, it's just expecting what was agreed upon.

It doesn't matter if your bussing tables or making a billion dollar epic, a contract is a contract.

bashpics99 - 2021-07-31 @ 6:53 pm

From what i've read it sounds like Johansson does get a cut of the D+ premium access money. Her lawsuit relies on the assumption that same day release hampered movie box office by more than $60 million (or whatever D+ made.. .plus all the "piracy") thus damaging her earnings potential, particular if her contract specified a theatrical release.

Disney seems to be trying to work public opinion by portraying Scarlett as a greedy celebrity (which ok, i'm sure she is somewhat) but while ianal it sure seems like Scarlett has a case, and tbh i'm surprised Disney didn't give her whatever $$ amount she wanted just to avoid bad publicity or damage to the brand. Especially if Disney views BW as a one-off situation and are thinking Shang-chi, Eternals etc wont have same day premium access release on D+. I would think going forward to future mcu movies (and really movies in general) that big stars will start to have covid clauses in contract in case the movie ends up streaming same day and thus they dont earn the box office potential they might otherwise.

Gigantor - 2021-07-31 @ 5:09 pm

Monkee see, Monkee do. By this time next week, half of Hollywood actors/actresses that worked for the Mouse will be filing suit. Gotta love $$ greedy rich people.

leokearon - 2021-07-31 @ 7:44 am

Looks like Scarlet isn't the only person affected; Emma Stone is now launching her own lawsuit, for similiar reasons.

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