Scarlett Johansson has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against The Walt Disney Company and Marvel over Black Widow’s streaming release on Disney+. The actress is citing breach of contract because the Marvel Studios film had been guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release when she signed her contract.
Johansson first debuted as the character Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. Black Widow in the MCU in 2010’s Iron Man 2. Since then, the actress has appeared in several other Marvel projects including Avengers: Endgame where the character met her demise. Marvel fans expressed their desire for the character to have her own solo MCU film which was quickly put into development. Black Widow was originally scheduled to release in May 2020, but due to the pandemic, the project was delayed multiple times before ending up with a hybrid release on July 9, 2021, where the film debuted in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access (for an additional fee) simultaneously.
Given that Johansson’s salary was contingent on the box office success of the film, her income could be hindered by the film’s release on Disney+.
Part of the suit states, “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.”
Marvel or Disney have not yet made a comment on the situation.
Update: Disney has strongly responded to the lawsuit. Read their full statement here.