Los Angeles, July 30, 2021: A few hours after Black Widow star Scarlett Johansson filed a lawsuit against Walt Disney Co., the company has hit back at the actress, calling the lawsuit "sad and distressing".
On Thursday (July 29), Scarlett Johansson
suid Disney at the Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging that her contract was breached when the Walt Disney Co. released the film on its Disney+ streaming service at the same time as its theatrical debut. The actress's agreement with Disney's Marvel Entertainment/Marvel Studios guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release of her films, in which her salary was mostly based on the film's box-office performance.
Disney countered Johansson's lawsuit in a rather fiery statement, stating, "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 said.
The company went on to state that the actress has already received $20 million for her work and argued that "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".
Black Widow was made available on Disney's streaming service for a $30 rental fee at the same time it debuted in theaters on July 9. "Black Widow" set a pandemic-era box office record with $80 million in North America. It earned an additional $78 million overseas and $60 million on Disney Plus. However, the movie witnessed a historical decline of 67% in the second weekend at the box office.
Earlier, the US theater association also slammed
Disney for making the film available at home. The association felt that due to Disney's two-way release, the theatrical business was badly affected. Currently, Black Widow stands at a gross of $319 million worldwide.