Scarlett Johannson has received words of support from fellow actress Elizabeth Olsen who said during an interview with Vanity Fair, “I think she’s so tough and literally when I read that I was like, ‘Good for you Scarlett.’”
The Wandavision actress continued, “When it comes to actors and their earnings, I mean, that’s just, that’s just all contracts. So it’s either in the contract or it’s not.”
Johansson is suing The Walt Disney Company for breach of contract as a result of the studio releasing Black Widow on Disney +, claiming that Disney sacrificed the movie’s box office potential in order to grow its streaming service — which affected her own backend profit.
For Olsen, her concerns around movies being released on streaming platforms extend to how it could affect the independent film industry and its small budget films.
“I would like to see art films and art house theatres,” she said. “And so I do worry about that, and people having to keep these theatres alive. And I don’t know how financially that works for these theatres.”
Disney has responded to Johansson’s complaint in a statement saying, “There is no merit whatsoever to this filing. The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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.”
Black Widow — which explores the origin story of Natasha Romanoff— was released on July 7 after multiple pandemic-induced delays. For those who were unable to see it on the big screen, the option existed to view it on Disney + for USD$30.
The film subsequently generated $USD60 million through Disney+ purchases, according to Disney.
According to Johannson’s complaint, Black Widow had been guaranteed a wide theatrical release when she signed her deal with Marvel, but Disney interfered with the deal for their own advantage.
Meanwhile, the lawsuit has likely opened the door for other Hollywood performers to negotiate their salaries differently in the future. Already, Cruella star Emma Stone is reported to have leveraged Johannson’s filing to her advantage when requesting higher front end earnings for the sequel.