Scarlett Johansson suing Disney over Black Widow release on streaming platform

Credit: PA Photo/©Marvel Studios 2020

Scarlett Johansson is suing the Walt Disney Company after it released the new Black Widow film on its streaming platform, Disney+.

Johansson, who plays the titular character and was also executive producer on the movie, claims the company breached her contract and deprived her of potential earnings by releasing the movie on the site.

The star filed a lawsuit on Thursday in the Los Angeles Superior Court that said her contract guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release.

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The actor's potential earnings were tied to the box office performance of the film, which the company released simultaneously in cinemas and as a $30 (£21) rental on Disney+.

"In the months leading up to this lawsuit, Ms. Johansson gave Disney and Marvel every opportunity to right their wrong and make good on Marvel’s promise," the lawsuit said.

"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."

Disney said the lawsuit has "no merit whatsoever."

"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 in a statement.

"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."

The release of the film was delayed as a result of the pandemic.

Johansson has been in nine Marvel movies going back more than a decade.