📽️ Scarlett Johansson's “Black Widow” lawsuit could have huge Hollywood implications

“Black Widow” came out in theaters and on streamer Disney+ at the same time last month. It is an increasingly popular move in the entertainment business, but one Scarlett Johansson believes shouldn’t happen.

  • She filed a lawsuit claiming Disney breached her contract: She said the contract required the movie to have a theatrical only release. This matters because her payment structure was heavily based on backend profits at the box office. The WSJ reports the simultaneous streaming release may have cost her $50 million.  

  • This is the first major lawsuit over a streaming and theatrical release: But plenty of other Disney and Warner Bros. movies have been going in theaters and online at the same time. Johansson has the rare star power to pull off a lawsuit without alienating Hollywood execs. 

The big studios will be watching

They’ve bet big on streaming platforms. Movie theaters, meanwhile, need people to return. If other stars file lawsuits like Johansson, they could swing the momentum back to theaters and make studios think twice about straight-to-streaming releases. 

The Verdict

By the time this lawsuit has run its course, Hollywood may be in an entirely different place, where streaming releases are even more normal.