Warner Bros. sent shockwaves through the industry when the studio announced the entire slate of 2021 movies were debuting on HBO Max the same day they hit theaters, leading to some big names blasting the call, including Dune director Denis Villenueve and golden boy Christopher Nolan. However, they never got sued for it.
That makes Scarlett Johansson’s decision to pursue legal action against Disney all the more noteworthy, especially when it’s come weeks after Black Widow landing on Disney Plus Premier Access. As a matter of principle it’s understandable, but we’re still talking about someone who took top billing and an executive producer’s credit in return for a $15 million upfront salary, and the fact the actress filed a lawsuit would indicate there’s an awful lot of money left on the table she believes that she’s owed.
The Mouse House have already publicly responded, but it’s a messy situation to see play out in front of the world. As you can see below, though, Marvel Cinematic Universe fans have the longtime Natasha Romanoff’s back.
Heading into this weekend, Black Widow had brought in just under $320 million at the box office, after suffering the steepest second frame drop in MCU history. Like most of the franchise’s biggest names, Johansson’s contract would have included performance-related bonuses and back-end profit participation deals, and Cate Shortland’s prequel clearly isn’t going to come close to matching the sort of theatrical earnings it would have managed were it not for both the pandemic and Premier Access.
What happens from here will be very interesting to see unfold, and it’s fortunate for Disney’s money men that Black Widow marked her final outing in the MCU, or an even bigger can of worms could have been opened.