Yesterday we learned that Disney and Scarlett Johansson have had an enormous falling out over Black Widow debuting simultaneously in theaters and on Disney Plus. In a lawsuit, Johannson claims that this was a breach of contract as her salary was based on the film’s theatrical performance, which dropped precipitously after a strong $80m opening weekend.
Many are blaming this on it being available on VOD, which not only eats into the box office through legitimate streams on Disney Plus, but inevitably means the movie will be immediately widely pirated. Consequentially, Johansson has lost out on a lot of money due to the film’s relatively low box office, with her lawyers arguing that:
“Disney intentionally induced Marvel’s breach of the agreement, without justification, in order to prevent Ms Johansson from realizing the full benefit of her bargain with Marvel.”
Disney’s lawyers have shot back, accusing the lawsuit of being “sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
That’s a good indication that relations between Disney and Johansson have flash-frozen overnight. As such, we’re now hearing from our sources that Kevin Feige has been asked by those above him to not bring the actress back for any further MCU appearances.
Obviously, this is unlikely to alter much as Nat died in Avengers: Endgame, Black Widow was a farewell for her, and Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova will be succeeding her as the MCU’s top Widow. Even so, there may have been appearances in What If…? style productions or multiversal cameos that might be blocked.
But Scarlett Johansson may be playing with fire by tangling with the House of Mouse. Even if actors win legal cases against Disney they tend to suffer career damage and will likely miss out on potential parts in other productions. But, after a long career as an A-lister, she may be looking at her established success and figured that now’s the time to roll the dice on her retirement fund.
More on this as it develops.