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Scarlett Johansson Sues Disney Over ‘Black Widow’ Streaming

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Actress Scarlett Johansson sued Disney over the release of the Marvel film “Black Widow.” Disney and other film companies like WarnerMedia have decided to simultaneously release their films in theatres and on their streaming services such as HBO Max. WarnerMedia shocked the film world by announcing its plans to move its full 2021 slate of films onto streaming when they release, angering people in the production who would have benefited from the box office revenue that is now galvanized by streaming, according to The Hollywood Reporter on July 29. While HBO managed to make quick deals to sure up their partnerships, Disney is now under fire for not providing a fix to this concern.

johanssonThe movie industry has been at a loss ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began in the spring of last year. Theaters have endured the brunt of people being forced to stay home and shutting down to low seating capacities.

Streaming companies, however, have fared far better. With more people staying home, there are increased eyeballs on screens for companies like Disney, Netflix, and WarnerMedia Movie studios and media companies chose this year to expand into streaming and expand their movie releases to be available in more than just theatres to the current situation.

While this has been a good driver for the growth of these new services and proved beneficial for these corporations, some people in the production feel like they have been cut out revenue they would have received had the movie been allowed to stay in theaters. Johansson is the first to take action against these companies.

The actress’ lawsuit argues that Disney purposely made a decision to lose out on hundreds of millions of dollars from the box office just to bolster sign-ups for its streaming service Disney+. The idea is that this way, more people would join and even more would end up staying because the popular movie “Black Widow” was going to be available.

Johansson also alleges that she was promised in her contract a wide theatrical release and that Disney tampered with this clause by releasing the movie onto Disney’s streaming service. Disney counters by saying Johansson benefited from the decision and earned more from the $30 premier access offer on Disney+ on top of the $20 million she was already due to receive.

The suit has started a conversation about how talent should be paid in the streaming era and seems to have influenced others. Both “Jungle Cruise” star Emily Blunt and “Cruella” star Emma Stone are also rumored to bring their own lawsuits against Disney.

Written by Chiagozie Onyewuchi
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

The Hollywood Reporter: Scarlett Johansson Files Lawsuit Against Disney Over ‘Black Widow’ Release; by Pamela Mcclintock and Eriq Gardner
The New York Times: ‘Change is coming’ to streaming, says Jason Kilar, the WarnerMedia chief; by Edmund Lee
The Daily Mail: Cruella star Emma Stone is ‘weighing her options’ and Emily Blunt has her eyes on Jungle Cruise figures as other actors are expected to join Scarlett Johansson in her $50M Black Widow pay row with Disney; by Rachel Sharp

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Leo Don Bin’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License