Things are getting ugly in the battle between Scarlett Johansson and Disney after the Black Widow star filed a lawsuit for breach of contract after the Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster was sent to Disney Plus Premier Access the same day it hit theaters, without her deal being amended to reflect the change.
It could potentially lead to a paradigm shift that effects the entirety of Hollywood, and while plenty of industry figures have Johansson’s back, Disney’s legal team obviously does not. Some details of the star’s contract have been made public, and it reportedly notes that all disputes need to go through arbitration as opposed to court. Not only that, but her contract is with Marvel Studios and not the comic book outfit’s parent company, even though the legal action was filed against Disney after they made the final call on Black Widow‘s fate.
It’s a messy scenario for all parties to say the least, and now longtime Mouse House legal representative Daniel Petrocelli has poured even more fuel on the fire by claiming that it’s all just a PR stunt designed to extricate even more money from her participation in a movie that’s already netted Johansson $20 million.
“It is obvious that this is a highly orchestrated PR campaign to achieve an outcome that is not obtainable in the lawsuit. No amount of public pressure can change or obscure the explicit contractual commitments. The written contract is clear as a bell. We treated Disney Premier Access revenue like box office for the purposes of the bonus requirements in the contract. That only enhanced the economics for Ms. Johansson.”
Those are the sort of incendiary comments that aren’t going to be taken lying down, and with former Disney CEO Bob Iger and Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer Kevin Feige said to be aghast at the whole situation, the focus is set to fall on how current chief Bob Chapek handles things from here on out.
Delicate would be an understatement, when the outcome of the Black Widow claim could realistically put some high profile talents off the idea of collaborating with the studio in the future, looking at how they’ve treated someone who was part of history’s most successful film franchise for over a decade.