You mess with the mouse, you get the ears. Disney, this week, responded publicly to Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit over the streaming of Black Widow on Disney+.
To recap, Scarlett Johansson filed a lawsuit this week against Disney claiming illegality in their decision to release Black Widow on the Disney+ streaming service the same day and date as it's theatrical release. In a statement:
"Disney intentionally induced Marvel's breach of the agreement, without justification, in order to prevent Ms. Johansson from realizing the full benefit of her bargain with Marvel,"
Well, this was the first shot fired in what is sure to be a long and public legal battle. Disney's response was quick and scathing...
"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."
To which the Johansson Camp responded...
"It's no secret that Disney is releasing films like Black Widow directly onto Disney+ to increase subscribers and thereby boost the company's stock price—and that it's hiding behind COVID-19 as a pretext to do so. But ignoring the contracts of the artists responsible for the success of its films in furtherance of this short-sighted strategy violates their rights and we look forward to proving as much in court. This will surely not be the last case where Hollywood talent stands up to Disney and makes it clear that, whatever the company may pretend, it has a legal obligation to honor its contracts."
(your turn, Mickey...)
"Disney has 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 on top of the $20M she has received to date."
Since this back and forth began, the fan community has responded with their opinions as well. Mostly in full support of Johansson.
"If Disney can do this to Scarlett Johansson—a Big Name—imagine what they're able to do to creators/actors with a lot less power and money," tweeted film producer Mallory Yu. "There are implications to this breach of contract beyond ScarJo herself, or even the convenience (& safety) of home streaming."
"As has been pointed out: media corporations like Disney have a long history of contracts that prioritize corporate profits over creator equity. Demand for streaming options isn't going away, so what effects will this case have on future/current contract negotiations?"
While another Twitter account, that focuses on legal content tweeted:
"When someone says you breached a contract and you start talking about global pandemics you 100% breached that contract."
One thing is for sure, we haven't heard the last from this lawsuit. However, if by some miracle, this issue is resolved amicably, we should all keep our fingers crossed that we haven't seen the last of Scarlett Johansson in the MCU.