Yesterday, news broke that MCU star Scarlett Johansson has filed a lawsuit against The Walt Disney Company to the tune of a cool $50 million.
Johansson, who has played Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Iron Man 2 (2010), and her team allege that Disney is in breach of contract due to the fact that Black Widow (2021) was released simultaneously in theaters and on the Disney+ Premier Access tier.
This led to a “stunning crash” during the Marvel movie’s second weekend in theaters.
Per the lawsuit, Johansson had a clause added to her contract in 2019 — the year Disney+ launched — that Black Widow must have an exclusively theatrical release since her salary was largely based on box office performance.
Related: Did Doctor Strange MURDER Iron Man?
This, of course, did not happen, and the MCU prequel film — which is set between the events of Captain America: Civil War (2016) and Avengers: Infinity War (2018) — was available on Disney+ for $29.99 the same day it hit theaters, on July 9, 2021.
Now, it seems that Johansson is not the only person associated with Marvel who has a beef with Disney over how Black Widow‘s release was handled. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige is reportedly furious about the situation.
The latest What I’m Hearing… newsletter from former The Hollywood Reporter editor Matthew Belloni notes, in part:
“[Feige is] a company man, and not prone to corporate showdowns or shouting matches. But I’m told he’s angry and embarrassed. He lobbied Disney against the day-and-date plan for Black Widow, preferring the big screen exclusivity and not wanting to upset his talent. And then when the sh** hit the fan, the movie started tanking, and Johansson’s team threatened litigation, he wanted Disney to make this right with her. (Disney declined to comment on Feige.)”
Disney, for their part, has issued a statement saying that Johansson’s lawsuit is both “callous” and “disappointing”.
Neither Feige nor Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek have publicly spoken out regarding the situation at this time. Stay tuned to Inside the Magic for the latest developments in the ongoing Black Widow saga.
More on Black Widow
The official description of the movie reads:
In Marvel Studios’ action-packed spy thriller “Black Widow,” Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down [Taskmaster and Dreykov (Ray Winstone)], Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.
Scarlett Johansson reprises her role as Natasha/Black Widow, Florence Pugh stars as Yelena, David Harbour portrays Alexei/The Red Guardian, and Rachel Weisz is Melina. “Black Widow” — the first film in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — is directed by Cate Shortland and produced by Kevin Feige.
Are you surprised to learn that Kevin Feige is reportedly furious with Disney?
You can stream Black Widow and the three series in Marvel’s Phase 4 so far — Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany’s WandaVision, Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Tom Hiddleston’s Loki — on Disney+ anytime.
The full Creative Commons license can be viewed here.