- BBC News World
Scarlett Johansson sued Disney for breach of contract after she streamed her superhero movie “Black Widow” on its digital platform at the same time as its movie premiere.
The film reached a box office record amid the covid-19 pandemic, raising $ 218 million in its first weekend.
But box office revenue then fell dramatically and Johansson argues that it was seen deprived of potential earnings.
Disney responded by saying that it had “fully complied with” its contract and that its claim was “unfounded.”
Johansson said that Marvel Studios, which is owned by Disney, had promised him that Black Widow would be a “theatrical release.”
The actress noted that she had understood this to mean that there would be a “window” of time until it was shown on a digital platform (that period has traditionally lasted 90 days).
“Especially sad” claim
During the pandemic, several Hollywood studios chose to bypass theaters, many of which had been closed, and release their movies online.
Now that most cinemas have reopened, Disney, along with Warner Bros, has chosen to maintain a strategy of dual premiere for his main films.
In its opening weekend, “Black Widow” made about $ 80 million in North American ticket sales and $ 78 million internationally, plus at least $ 60 million in Disney + Premier Access rentals.
Sources close to the actress, whose salary was based in performance of the movie box office, project that he lost $ 50 million, according to reports.
Disney responded by stating that the simultaneous release strategy had “significantly improved capacity [de Johansson] to earn additional compensation on top of the $ 20 million he has received to date. “
In a forceful statement, Disney said Johansson’s legal action was “especially sad and disturbing because of his callous disregard for the horrible and lingering global effects of the pandemic of covid-19 “.
Before the pandemic, Hollywood moviegoers typically had to watch new releases in theaters or wait three months for them to be streamed to their devices.
Major studios have been combining movie releases and broadcasts in different ways as theaters struggle to win back viewers who still don’t dare to return to theaters for fear of contracting the virus in tight spaces.
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Black Widow: why Scarlett Johansson sued Disney