Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney for its decision to release the film “Black Widow” on its streaming platform at the same time in theaters which, according to the actress, constitutes a breach of contract which has cost her millions of dollars. dollars.
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Scarlett Johansson, one of Hollywood’s highest-paid stars, was entitled to a percentage of the proceeds raised by the highly anticipated Marvel film, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in a Los Angeles court.
The release of “Black Widow” on the big screen, scheduled for last year, had been postponed several times because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The film was finally released in July in theaters, but also on the Disney + streaming platform.
Box office experts believe that the disappointing numbers – by Marvel movie standards – are in part due to its simultaneous streaming release. In three weeks, the film grossed 150 million dollars in American theaters.
“It’s no secret that Disney is releasing films like Black Widow directly on Disney + to attract more subscribers and thus boost the company’s share price – and invoke Covid-19 as a pretext” Scarlett Johansson’s lawyer John Berlinski said in a statement to AFP.
“This is surely not the last time that Hollywood talents stand up to Disney and make it clear that whatever the company may claim, it has a legal obligation to honor its contracts,” he added. .
Disney, which owns Marvel Studios specializing in superheroes, did not immediately respond to AFP’s request.
Like many Hollywood studios, Disney is increasingly prioritizing streaming as a source of future revenue.
After the first weekend of operation of “Black Widow”, Disney issued a statement claiming that the film had raised “over $ 60 million” on Disney + alone, where it was available to subscribers, at an additional cost. of 30 dollars.
In the complaint filed, it is stated that “to protect her financial interests, Ms. Johansson obtained a promise from Marvel that the film would be released in theaters” which, she said, implied that it would not be available for streaming. immediately.
But “Disney wanted to draw film audiences away from theaters and to its own streaming service, where it could keep the revenue to itself while increasing the number of Disney + subscribers,” the company seeking to “s’. enrich ”, we still read.
Rival studio Warner Bros. came under fire last year for making a similar move by releasing all of its films simultaneously to theaters and streaming.
Warner had renegotiated many of his star and director contracts, and reportedly paid more than $ 200 million to make up for the shortfall at the box office.