Black Widow is Scarlett Johansson’s first solo film as Natasha Romanoff (Picture: Marvel Studios)
Scarlett Johansson’s agent Bryan Lourd has hit back at Disney’s response to the actress’s lawsuit, branding it a ‘direct attack’ on her character.
Black Widow actress Johansson is suing Disney, alleging her contract was breached when the studio released the film on Disney+ and in cinemas on the same day.
The 36-year-old claims the decision has affected the amount she will be able to earn from her part in the film.
In response, Disney hit back by referencing the Covid-19 pandemic and revealing Johansson’s earnings.
Now, Lourd has issued a statement saying (via Deadline): ‘I want to address the Walt Disney Company’s statement that was issued in response to the lawsuit filed against them yesterday by our client Scarlett Johansson.
‘They have shamelessly and falsely accused Ms Johansson of being insensitive to the global Covid pandemic, in an attempt to make her appear to be someone they and I know she isn’t.
‘Scarlett has been Disney’s partner on nine movies, which have earned Disney and its shareholders billions.
The film was released on Disney+ and in cinemas on the same day (Picture: Marvel)
‘The company included her salary in their press statement in an attempt to weaponize her success as an artist and businesswoman, as if that were something she should be ashamed of.
‘Scarlett is extremely proud of the work that she, and all of the actors, writers, directors, producers, and the Marvel creative team have been a part of for well over a decade.
‘This suit was filed as a result of Disney’s decision to knowingly violate Scarlett’s contract. They have very deliberately moved the revenue stream and profits to the Disney+ side of the company, leaving artistic and financial partners out of their new equation. That’s it, pure and simple.
‘Disney’s direct attack on her character and all else they implied is beneath the company that many of us in the creative community have worked with successfully for decades.’
Disney has denied breaching Johansson’s contract (Picture: Marvel)
In lawsuit papers filed on Thursday, Johansson maintains that her contract stated she was entitled to the film being released in cinemas only, with her full salary being based in large part on how well the film performed at the box office.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court read: ‘Disney intentionally induced Marvel’s breach of the agreement, without justification, in order to prevent Ms. Johansson from realizing the full benefit of her bargain with Marvel.’
John Berlinski, an attorney at Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP who represents Johansson, also said in a statement: ‘This will surely not be the last case where Hollywood talent stands up to Disney and makes it clear that, whatever the company may pretend, it has a legal obligation to honor its contracts.’
WSJ claimed that the longtime member of the Marvel family allegedly tried to bring up the issue with Disney and Marvel prior to the filing of her suit.
The publication reported: ‘Ms. Johansson’s representatives sought to renegotiate her contract after learning of the dual-release strategy for Black Widow, which she has said is her ninth and last Marvel movie. Disney and Marvel were unresponsive.’
Disney has claimed there is ‘no merit’ to Johansson’s suit.
‘This lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,’ the company’s statement read.
‘Disney has fully complied with Ms. Johansson’s contract and furthermore, the release of Black Widow on Disney+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20m (£14m) she has received to date.’
Johansson first starred as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow in Iron Man 2 in 2010. Over the past decade, she’s appeared in various Marvel films, including the Avengers movies, with Black Widow being her first solo film.