Disney fires back at Scarlett Johansson over 'Black Widow' streaming lawsuit

The media company says it 'fully complied' with the actress' contract

Disney has fired back at Scarlett Johansson and her lawyers over the lawsuit filed about "Black Widow"s hybrid theatrical-streaming release.

On Thursday night, the House of Mouse said in a statement: "There is no merit whatsoever to this filing. The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic."

"Disney has 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 $20M she has received to date," it clarified.

The Marvel star, 36, filed a lawsuit Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court alleging that Disney breached her contract when the media company simultaneously released the superhero film on both Disney+ (for a $30 fee) and in theaters. 


Johansson says in the suit that her contract guaranteed exclusive theatrical release of the film and a large part of her salary hinged on the film having successful ticket sales. 

This image released by Disney/Marvel Studios' shows Scarlett Johansson in a scene from "Black Widow." Disney announced the film release date as July 9, 2021. (Marvel Studios/Disney via AP)

"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," the suit said according to the Wall Street Journal. 

Disney released the movie on Disney+ because of the pandemic which caused theaters to limit in-person capacity. 


"This will surely not be the last case where Hollywood talent stands up to Disney and makes it clear that, whatever the company may pretend, it has a legal obligation to honor its contracts," said John Berlinski, an attorney for Johansson.

Johansson has played Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff since her debut in 2010’s "Iron Man 2." This was her ninth and final movie as the character.

Reps for the star reportedly tried to renegotiate her contract but Disney and Marvel were "unresponsive," according to the docs. Per an email in the suit, conversations about contract changes were started in 2019. 


The Walt Disney Co. said on July 11, the superhero pic generated an estimated $80 million in ticket sales in North America. Combined with $78 million from international theaters and at least $60 million in Disney+ Premier Access rentals, "Black Widow" grossed over $215 million in its first weekend. 

The studio said it’s the largest domestic opening weekend since "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" debuted in 2019, pre-pandemic. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.