Marvel star Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney for breach of contract. Accusing the company of streaming her film Black Widow at the same time as its cinematic release.
Postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Black Widow was released in cinemas and on Disney streaming platform Disney+ simultaneously.
The actress is suing the company for the loss of income from her first, and last solo entry to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In an article published by Variety, they state that Johansson’s earnings were tied solely to the box office performance of the release, and “if it hit certain benchmarks, bonuses would kick in.”
Since the release of Black Widow, it opened its first box office weekend grossing with a strong $218m (£157m).
However, given the movie was also available on Disney+ Premier for $30, it is reported that Johansson is missing out on earnings at least the value of $50 million.
Prior to the pandemic, it was rare for studios to release movies simultaneously on multiple platforms. However, as cinemas closed, studios sought different avenues to maintain income including hosting on their streaming platforms.
Studios and cinemas have reacted differently to this adjustment, with some demanding exclusivity. While others are becoming accustomed to the current trend of audience viewership.
For instance, Universal Pictures upset both Cineworld and AMC Theatres when they released Trolls: World Tour online. This concluded in an agreement where films would get a limited exclusive run in cinemas before being added to the studio online portfolio.
This will see James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad starring Margot Robbie, Idris Elba and John Cena available for home viewing as well as for cinematic exhibition for its release.