‘Black Widow’ streaming numbers fire up the Scarlett Johansson vs Disney lawsuit
Disney is releasing more details about the financial performance of “Black Widow” as the company pushes to have a lawsuit brought by Scarlett Johansson — the film’s star — go to arbitration.The company revealed in a court filing on Friday that the Marvel superhero film has made more than $125 million in streaming and online revenue as of August 15.
The film, which was made available for purchase to Disney+ subscribers for $29.99 starting on July 9 — has also made more than $367 million at the global theatrical box office, according to the company.Disney included these figures in its motion requesting a confidential arbitration in New York rather than a public trial.
John Berlinski, the attorney for Johansson, said in a statement to CNN Business, “Why is Disney so afraid of litigating this case in public?”
“Because it knows that Marvel’s promises to give Black Widow a typical theatrical release ‘like its other films’ had everything to do with guaranteeing that Disney wouldn’t cannibalize box office receipts in order to boost Disney+ subscriptions,” he said. “Yet, that is exactly what happened — and we look forward to presenting the overwhelming evidence that proves it.”
Daniel Petrocelli, the attorney for Disney and Marvel who put forth the filing on Friday, told CNN Business in a statement Monday that “we are simply asking the court to enforce the parties’ agreement requiring arbitration of all disputes.”
Johansson filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court last month that alleged Disney (DIS) breached her contract by releasing “Black Widow” on Disney+ on the same day it was released in theaters. This, according to the suit, reduced Johansson’s financial stake in the film because she had agreed that her salary would be based, in large part, on the film’s box office haul.
Disney responded by saying that “there is no merit whatsoever to this filing.” The studio added at the time that the company “fully complied with Ms. Johansson’s contract and furthermore, the release of ‘Black Widow’ on Disney+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20 million she has received to date.”
Johansson vs. Disney has been a flashpoint in an evolving Hollywood. The lawsuit comes at a pivotal moment as the industry faces questions about how audiences will consume entertainment in the future, and how those who create it will be compensated.”Black Widow” brought in $80 million at North American the box office in its opening weekend. That was around what the industry was expecting and was also a record for the pandemic era. The film also made $60 million globally on Disney+ that weekend, according to the studio.