Dr. Strange’s Benedict Cumberbatch Weighs In On What’s Going On With The Disney And Scarlett Johansson Lawsuit

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a massive place, with Phase Four expanding the franchise on the silver and small screens. But while more characters are introduced, there’s some drama behind the scenes as Scarlett Johansson is involved in a lawsuit over the release of Black Widow. And now Doctor Strange actor Benedict Cumberbatch has weighed in on what’s going on with the ongoing Disney suit.

Benedict Cumberbatch made his Marvel debut in 2016’s Doctor Strange, and has already become a major presence in the shared universe. While he’s set to have his own sequel and an appearance in Spider-Man: No Way Home, Cumberbatch was recently asked about Scarlett Johansson’s legal battle against Disney. He responded, saying:

It’s sad what’s going on between the lawyers. Just the verbiage and the accusations of, ‘Put it in a global pandemic context.’ The whole thing’s just a bit of a mess. We’re trying to understand what the revenue streams should be for artists that contribute to the billion-dollar business that is Disney. And it has to be contractualized. How does an artist’s normal compensation with box office bonuses, how does it work? It’s a new paradigm, and it’s a very complex one. No one saw this coming, and no one should use hindsight to say, ‘Well, it should have been done.’ That was the first of these films that was going to get a cinematic release during the pandemic and got stalled and stalled and stalled. It’s very new territory.

Just like this genius character, it looks like Benedict Cumberbatch is approaching the lawsuit with Scarlett Johansson from a scientific place. Namely since Black Widow and other movies were released straight to homes during this truly unprecedented time in history. Let’s break down his comments about his Avengers co-star’s case.

Benedict Cumberbatch was asked about the ScarJo case in a long interview by THR. Various points of his Marvel career were addressed, before the conversation eventually turned to the drama surrounding Black Widow. And his perspective offered what it’s like to have compensation deals as an actor, and why that ultimately resulted in Scarlett Johansson’s legal case.

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Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit against The House of Mouse came as a result of Black Widow’s disappointing box office release. The movie’s release on Disney+ seemingly resulted in more people streaming at home, as well as the project being a victim of pirating. Given this turn of events, Johansson is suing for the money lost.

As Benedict Cumberbatch also mentions, the MCU was wading into unexplored waters as a result of the pandemic. Black Widow was delayed time and time again, before eventually the studio stuck to its July release date. It seems that Disney did learn a lesson from releasing Scarlett Johansson’s movie on Disney+, as future installments like Shang-Chi and Eternals will have an exclusive theatrical window before being made available to stream.

Shang-Chi is in theaters now and the next MCU installment will be Eternals on November 5th. In the meantime, check out the 2021 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.