Disney bosses called Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit ‘sad and distressing’ after she sued the filmmaker for £36million in lost earnings
Disney has launched an unprecedented attack on its star Scarlett Johansson after she sued the filmmaker for £36 million in lost earnings.
The Hollywood star filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday, alleging she lost out on the payout after her Black Widow movie was released on streaming service Disney+ at the same time as its debut in cinemas.
The actress, 36, alleges she had been guaranteed the movie would have an exclusive theatrical release, and the bulk of her salary was based on the box office performance.
Now Disney bosses have hit back labelling her claim “sad and distressing” while insisting it has “no merit whatsoever”.
“The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the company said in the statement.
They revealed Johansson has made £14.3 million.
They added: “Disney has fully complied with Ms Johansson’s contract,’ the company said.
“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 (£14.3 million) she has received to date.”
It is not known how much she will make from Black Widow being streamed on Disney+.
Black Widow took in £43 million on the streaming platform Disney+ on its opening weekend alone, the company previously announced.
The movie set a pandemic-era record bringing in £156 million worldwide over its opening weekend earlier this month, including the streaming figures.
However, the movie’s box-office performance dropped off sharply as the Delta variant continues to affect countries Covid recovery.
Johansson’s suit alleges she agreed her salary for the film would be based, in large part, on the film’s box office haul.
“To maximize these receipts, and thereby protect her financial interests, Ms Johansson extracted a promise from Marvel that the release of the picture would be a ‘theatrical release,'” the suit claimed.
“As Ms Johansson, Disney, Marvel, and most everyone else in Hollywood knows, a ‘theatrical release’ is a release that is exclusive to movie theatres.
“Disney was well aware of this promise, but nonetheless directed Marvel to violate its pledge and instead release the picture on the Disney+ streaming service the very same day it was released in movie theatres.”