Disney made the decision to debut the film both in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access on the same date and it was met with success, grossing $80 million at the domestic box office, $78 million overseas in theaters, and an additional $60 million through Disney+ over its opening weekend. However, just yesterday Black Widow star, Scarlett Johansson, filed a suit against Disney for the streaming release and now we’re hearing more from her team on the matter.
Johansson’s suit claims that Disney breached her contract by releasing the movie on Disney+ on the same date and that the company chose to prioritize the growth of its streaming service over the film’s box office performance, resulting in a loss of income for Johansson.
Disney responded to the suit yesterday saying that “There is no merit whatsoever to this filing” and that they “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.”
And, now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the leader of Johansson’s talent agency, CAA Co-Chairman Bryan Lourd, has commented on Disney’s statement. In his response, he criticized Disney for “shamelessly and falsely [accusing] Ms. Johansson of being insensitive to the global COVID pandemic, in an attempt to make her appear to be someone they and I know she isn’t.”
And, Lourd also re-emphasized that Disney “very deliberately moved the revenue stream and profits to the Disney+ side of the company, leaving artistic and financial partners out of their new equation” when making the decision on the dual release.
In the past, Disney has shared that they are taking a “flexible” approach when it comes to the decision on where to release new films, acknowledging that some fans aren’t comfortable returning to the theaters just yet due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And, Disney waited until just three months before Black Widow‘s release to make the decision.
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