In the ScarJo versus Disney PR war, everyone’s a loser

Black Widow star Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney over an alleged breach of contract, having reportedly lost out on about $50 million after Disney chose to release the movie on Disney+ the same day it debuted in theaters. The suit seems likely to end in a settlement, but the bigger story may be the PR war now unfolding between one of Hollywood’s biggest stars and one of its biggest star-makers.

According to Johansson, her agreement with Disney’s Marvel Entertainment stated that Black Widow would play exclusively in theaters for 90-120 days. The lawsuit says that making Black Widow immediately available to rent on Disney+ put a big dent in Johansson’s potential earnings, since her salary was based in part on how the movie did at the box office.

Disney, meanwhile, denies breaching the contract terms and says that the hybrid release was actually good for Johansson’s paycheck. In a statement, the company said that the move “significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20 million she has received to date.” In its opening weekend, Black Widow made $80 million in ticket sales and $60 million in streaming rentals, the first time Disney has offered that kind of breakdown.

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