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How Black Widow’ lawsuit changed Disney

Published : 06 Oct 2021 08:07 PM | Updated : 07 Oct 2021 02:39 PM

Scarlett Johansson's lawsuit against Disney over the streaming release of ‘Black Widow’ on Disney+ Premiere Access could have a big impact on the industry. Thanks to the global pandemic, studios started releasing movies on streaming alongside their theatrical releases, a move that didn't please many of the actors and directors involved, leading to Scarlett Johansson suing Disney over an alleged loss in box office residuals due to ‘Black Widow’ being available on Disney+ at the same time as it was in theaters.

Johansson wasn't the only one with harsh words for her studio, as Warner Bros. also got major backlash from its actors and directors after the announcement that every 2021 theatrical release from WB would also be released on HBO Max. The difference is Warner Bros. avoided any lawsuits like Johansson's ‘Black Widow’ suit by engaging the creatives involved to renegotiate the way they'd get paid since there would likely be a box office impact.

The timing of Johansson's ‘Black Widow’ lawsuit against Disney is important, as it happened during a much larger industry shift towards streaming, where actors and directors have been treated a little differently. The actor and studio reached a settlement instead of going to court, but the lawsuit could still set a major precedent for talent relationships with big studios in the streaming era.

Disney releasing ‘Black Widow’ to streaming against the wishes of Johansson isn't the first time the studio - or any studio - has thrown its weight around with actors or other talent. Studios have long held the upper hand when it comes to leverage in these situations, Johansson was just the first to sue over it recently, and her decision, just like Disney's actions she was reacting to, was likely prompted by the industry's changing landscape brought on by streaming.    -Collider

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