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Scarlett Johansson Sues Disney Over Streaming

She says releasing 'Black Widow' to Disney Plus robbed her of box office profits
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2021 2:25 PM CDT
Scarlett Johansson Sues Disney Over Streaming
This image released by Marvel Studios shows Scarlett Johansson in a scene from "Black Widow."   (Jay Maidment/Marvel Studios-Disney via AP)

(Newser) – It's not the first time a big-name actor has sued a studio, but this one appears to be a first-of-its kind case involving the modern phenomenon of streaming. Scarlett Johansson is suing the Walt Disney Co. because the company released Black Widow for streaming on Disney Plus at the same time it released the Marvel movie to theaters, reports Deadline. While that might be great for boosting subscribers to Disney Plus, Johannson says the move hurts her financially because her compensation is based on box office receipts. She's calling it a breach of contract and says Disney promised her separate releases. What's more, she says Disney execs personally profited from the move.

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“In short, the message to and from Disney’s top management was clear: increase Disney+ subscribers, never mind your contractual promises, and you will be rewarded,” says the lawsuit. No comment yet from Disney, but the Wall Street Journal suggests the lawsuit could be a "bellwether" for the industry as media giants put an increased emphasis on streaming. This particular case might be complicated by the fact that COVID-19 played a role in Disney's decision, with many theaters closed or operating at limited capacity. (Read more Scarlett Johansson stories.)

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