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Scarlett Johansson suing Disney over Black Widow streaming release

Scarlett Johansson suing Disney over Black Widow streaming release
/ © Cover Media

Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney bosses over Black Widow's release structure.

The Marvel Studios superhero film, in which the actress portrays Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, premiered on 29 June around the world, and was simultaneously released in the U.S. in theatres and on Disney+ on 9 July.

However, Johansson's lawyers filed a lawsuit at the Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday in which they alleged that her contract with Disney's Marvel Entertainment included a clause guaranteeing an exclusive release in cinemas, and claimed her salary was partly based on the box-office performance of the film.

The actress's legal team also alleged that studio bosses wanted to debut Black Widow on Disney+ to generate interest in the streaming service.

"Why would Disney forgo hundreds of millions of dollars in box office receipts by releasing the Picture in theatres at a time when it knew the theatrical market was 'weak,' rather than waiting a few months for that market to recover?" the lawsuit questioned, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "On information and belief, the decision to do so was made at least in part because Disney saw the opportunity to promote its flagship subscription service using the Picture and Ms. Johansson, thereby attracting new paying monthly subscribers, retaining existing ones, and establishing Disney+ as a must-have service in an increasingly competitive marketplace."

Disney representatives have not yet commented on the lawsuit.

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