Scarlett Johansson attacks Disney over “Black Widow” streaming release

Scarlett Johansson sues Disney over decision to release film Black Widow on her streaming platform at the same time as in theaters, which, according to the American actress, constitutes a breach of contract that has cost her millions of dollars.

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, July 29, in a Los Angeles court.

The output of Black Widow on the big screen, scheduled for 2020, 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.

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Disappointing figures

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 garnered 150 million dollars (126 million euros) of receipts in the American cinemas.

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“It’s no secret that Disney releases movies like Black Widow directly on Disney + to attract more subscribers and thus increase the company’s share price and invoke the Covid-19 as a pretext “Scarlett Johansson’s lawyer John Berlinski said in a statement to Agence France-Presse.

“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, which specializes in superheroes, retorted that it did not violate the contract and brushed off the lawsuits with a wave of the hand. “The complaint is particularly sad and trying because it ignores the horrific and prolonged global impact of the Covid-19 pandemic”, the group said in a statement. Like many Hollywood studios, Disney is increasingly prioritizing streaming as a source of future revenue.

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Increase the number of Disney + subscribers

After the first weekend of operation of Black Widow, Disney had issued a statement claiming that the film had reaped “Over $ 60 million” just on Disney +, where it was available to subscribers, for an additional cost of $ 30.

In the complaint filed, it is stated that “To protect his financial interests, Johansson got a promise from Marvel that the film would be released indoors » which, according to her, implied that it would not be available to stream immediately.

More “Disney wanted to draw audiences for the film 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 “Get rich”, 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 contracts with stars and directors, and reportedly paid more than $ 200 million to make up for the shortfall at the box office.

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The World with AFP