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Scarlett Johansson's Lawyers Clap Back As Disney Makes Rare Admission As Part Of Black Widow Lawsuit

Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) looks forward in Black Widow (2021)

The legal battle between Scarlett Johansson and The Walt Disney Company has been raging on for nearly a month now, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. Since the actress initially filed suit against Disney for the simultaneous theatrical/streaming release of Black Widow, the two sides have engaged in a war of words. Most recently, Disney is attempting to move this legal business from Los Angeles to New York, in order to keep things confidential. In the process, the entertainment company made a rare admission and, now, Johansson’s lawyers have clapped back.

In its motion to have arbitration moved to New York, Disney just happened to reveal that Black Widow has made the company $367 million worldwide at the box office and $125 million from Disney+. Given that Disney rarely gives out streaming info, this is pretty big. When responding to Disney’s admission and demand for arbitration to be moved, Scarlett Johansson’s main lawyer, John Berlinski (via Deadline), accused the company of trying to “hide its misconduct” with this move:

After initially responding to this litigation with a misogynistic attack against Scarlett Johansson, Disney is now, predictably, trying to hide its misconduct in a confidential arbitration. Why is Disney so afraid of litigating this case in public?

Scarlett Johansson is suing The Walt Disney Company for alleged breach of contract. The actress and her legal team have asserted that her original Black Widow agreement did not have provisions in place for a dual release in theaters and on Disney+. Johansson was reportedly paid $20 million up front, but it’s been claimed that most of her profits were meant to come from the movie’s box office returns. While she claims she’s still owed tens of millions of dollars, Disney has asserted that her lawsuit “has no merit whatsoever” and that the company “fully complied” with the actress’ contract.

John Berlinski continued to argue that Black Widow was promised an exclusive theatrical release. However, he seems to indicate that Disney changed plans in order to bolster numbers for its streaming service, which Belinski believes is the reason for the arbitration move:

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… Yet that is exactly what happened – and we look forward to presenting the overwhelming evidence that proves it.

At this time, Disney has formally requested a hearing in DTLA, during which the arbitration matter would be discussed. The proposed date for the hearing is October 15 and, as of this writing, Scarlett Johansson’s legal team has not provided a response to the request. But we’ll be sure to provide you with updates on this situation as they continue to arrive.

Erik Swann

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.