In a lawsuit filed Thursday morning in Los Angeles Superior Court, the Black Widow The star and executive producer said her contract guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news of the lawsuit. Johansson’s potential earnings were tied to the film’s box office performance, which the company simultaneously released in theaters and on its Disney + streaming service for a US $ 30 rental.
“In the months leading up to this lawsuit, Ms. Johansson gave Disney and Marvel every chance to right their wrong and keep Marvel’s promise,” the lawsuit said. “Disney intentionally tricked Marvel into breaking the deal, without justification, in order to prevent Ms. Johansson from taking full advantage of her market with Marvel. “
Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Common hybrid versions during the pandemic
After its release was delayed for over a year due to COVID-19, Black Widow debuted three weeks ago at a pandemic record of US $ 80 million in North America and US $ 78 million in international theaters, but theatrical receipts fell sharply thereafter. On its second weekend of release, the National Association of Theater Owners released a rare statement criticizing the strategy, saying the simultaneous release only lends itself to lost profits and better pirating.
Once taboo, hybrid theatrical and streaming releases have become more normal for many of the larger studios during the pandemic, each adopting their own strategy. This weekend, Disney uses the same strategy with Jungle cruise, and next weekend, the big-budget Warner Bros. The suicide squad opens both in theaters and on HBO Max.
The overhauled hybrid release strategies over the past 16 months have at times led to public feuds not only from theater owners, but also stars, filmmakers and financiers who are unhappy with the potential revenue losses and the alleged takeover. unilateral decision involved.
The WSJ said Warner Media, for example, paid more than US $ 200 million in “modified deals” with talent for its decision to release its entire 2021 roster simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max.
But none have been as public as the Johansson trial. The actor, who has appeared in nine Marvel films since the 2010s Iron man 2, quickly became a trending topic on Twitter Thursday after the lawsuit was announced.