New details have emerged regarding Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit against Disney. According to The Wall Street Journal, Scarlett Johansson asked to be paid for Black Widow, whatever she would have made in the pre-pandemic era for the film. In her case, it was $100 million. As stated in the “breach of contract” lawsuit Johansson filed against Disney, the decision to release Black Widow simultaneously in theaters and Disney+ affected the film’s box office. And since Johansson was supposed to receive a percentage of the net profits, she got paid a lot less than she would have had Black Widow only released in theaters.
The WSJ reports that Scarlett Johansson’s lawyers tried to negotiate with Disney executives immediately after it was announced that Black Widow will be releasing on Disney+ Premier Access. They pushed to formulate a new contract so that Johansson gets what she deserves. Her legal team stated that Black Widow would have made at least $1.2 billion had the Covid pandemic not brought the world to a standstill. Along with the $20 million base pay that Johansson was getting, another $80 million was stipulated to bring the total to an even $100 million.
However, this number was only the “starting point”, according to WSJ. If more negotiations had taken place, Scarlett Johansson could have made a lot more money. But all this seems fair enough, so why the lawsuit? Well, If reports are to be believed, Disney ghosted Johansson’s representatives and never made a counteroffer.
Johansson herself was busy doing press for Black Widow while Disney boss Bob Chapek was handling the company’s other ventures amidst a raging pandemic. Believe it or not, the reason for the negotiations falling apart is the confusion among Disney’s top brass. With Chapek preoccupied with other matters, those below him were left in charge. The WSJ reports, Disney execs “didn’t return calls or emails from the Johansson team or engage in serious talks,”. All this sounds too good to be true, but for now, that’s all we have.
It remains unknown whether Chapek tried to make things right or for how long Johansson waited till suing Disney. But judging by Disney’s response to the lawsuit, they were definitely not expecting it. Disney made personal attacks on the Marriage Story actress, calling her insensitive and selfish. Johansson was defended by Marvel head Kevin Feige and many of her co-stars. Feige himself was against the Black Widow release model. There have even been talks of a rift between the Russo brothers and Disney. The pair was in talks for another Marvel movie but have now put their plans on hold. The Russos are unsure of the release medium of their film and don’t want to meet the same fate as Johansson. Hopefully, Disney resolves this situation reasonably.
In other news, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is currently playing exclusively in theaters worldwide and is off to a humongous start at the box office. Making almost $150 million global in its opening weekend, Shang-Chi has proved never to doubt a Marvel movie. Be sure to check out Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings in theaters. Those who aren’t ready to head out will have to wait 45 days before Shang-Chi arrives on Disney+. This news was reported by the Wall Street Journal via GameSpot.com.