A new façade opened its arms in the notorious streaming wars when celebrated Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson sued Marvel Studios’ parent company, Disney, ahead of the release of her much-anticipated movie ‘Black Widow’. This resulted in the aftermath of this action-packed spy thriller becoming extremely messy. The Marvel movie successfully made its debut in theatres around the globe on July 9, 2021. Though the film had grossed a good amount of $218 million in the first weekend, it suffered a lot of brutal blows concerning the box office collection in the forthcoming weeks.
Reportedly, the superhero movie failed to accumulate as much as 67 percent revenue in comparison to what it earned in its opening weekend. What was the reason behind this huge drop in numbers? We suggest you continue reading the article to know the same!
Source – Wikipedia
Scarlett Johansson’s character portrayal in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is known as Natasha Romanoff or Black Widow. She has featured in numerous blockbuster films, to name some – The Avengers, Captain America: Civil War, and Avengers: Endgame. The latter is given the designation of being the second-highest-grossing film in the world today. Johansson was last seen in Black Widow. A standalone film for the eponymous character, it is directed by Cate Shortland. The movie witnesses Scarlet as a fugitive who visits her past as a trained assassin and spy.
Now, what takes an actual turn of events is the fact that this amazing thriller was simultaneously released in theatres as well as on the Disney+ streaming platform. According to the actress, the audiences were given an option to either watch the film in theaters or shell out $30 to watch it through Disney+ ‘Premier Access.’ This decision was taken on the strength of the raging global Covid-19 pandemic. A little birdie tells us that she lost an approximated aggregate of $50 million due to the studio’s business approach.
Source – Marvel Studio
Now, as the consequence may have served, Johansson has sued the studio over alleged breach of contract. According to her lawsuit, she was guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release for Black Widow. As one of the Executive Producers and the main artists in the film, Johansson’s income was also associated with the box office success of the film. However, by releasing the film in both theaters and on Disney+ at almost the same time, the renowned company prevented Johansson from her huge box-office-infused paycheck.
Not only did the Marvel star but several other theatre owners berated Disney’s business strategy. After the news of her lawsuit was acknowledged, a spokesperson from Disney went on to comment that the lawsuit has ‘no merit’ to Johansson’s complaint. In addition, it stated that Disney has always and fully acted in accordance with Ms. Johansson’s contract, and furthermore, the release of Black Widow on Disney+ with Premier Access has evidently heightened her chance at earning surplus compensation along with the $20 million she received thus far as her fees.
As palpable as it may seem, this statement invited instant negative reactions from certain organizations in the industry including – The Time’s Up, ReFrame, and Women in Film. The report released by Disney was looked upon as a sexually discriminated attack and thus, met severe criticism. The company was also targeted for trying to tarnish an individual’s good reputation.
Source – Reddit
A quotation of the statement claims that Walt Disney Co. is repeatedly trying to falsely accuse Scarlet Johansson of being insensitive to the ongoing, horrific COVID pandemic. He further denounced the business for divulging her $20 million payment for the movie in an attempt to jeopardize her achievements as a talented artist and a strong businesswoman.
As the season of the movie, business continues to advance with great instability but swiftness, this million-dollar battle carves the beginning of an open dispute between talent and studios in the industry. There is absolutely no doubt that Johansson’s lawsuit itself is a significant breakthrough for the entire Hollywood film industry. Many actors and celebrities came in support of her. Her lawsuit against Walt Disney inspired many actors to also jump on the bandwagon.
It is only fair to say that this news has earned the title of being this summer’s biggest Hollywood attraction. We do not know how far this chaotic fight between two of the industry’s best-recognized brands will drive us but we are certain that it wouldn’t end soon.
Written by- Miloni Chheda
Edited by- Sanjana Dey