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Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios and primary producer of the MCU, is deeply displeased with the way that things have played out with Scarlett Johansson's lawsuit, according to this source.
The actress is levying a breach of contract lawsuit against Disney for releasing Black Widow simultaneously in theatres and on its streaming service, Disney+. Apparently, this was not arranged in the original contract between the two parties, and as a result, her legal counsel claimed that Johansson has lost out on possible backend compensation because some of her conditional bonuses are reliant on achieving certain statistics at the box office. In short, if more people are choosing to watch Black Widow while comfy on their couch, the actress won't receive the payments that she would have expected had the movie been released solely in theatres.
Disney has described the lawsuit as a "callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic," and at the moment, Black Widow is one of the lowest-grossing Marvel movies in the MCU. "Ignoring the contracts of the artists responsible for the success of its films in furtherance of this short-sighted strategy violates their rights and we look forward to proving as much in court," said John Berlinski, an attorney for Johansson, to Variety.
Eesh. Um. So. Check out this sizzle reel of the Phase 4 films that will build upon the legacy of the Avengers, like Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Matthew Belloni, a former The Hollywood Reporter editor who has his own newsletter offering the hottest scoops in the entertainment industry, has stated that Kevin Feige has some regrets over the legal calamity that has tarnished Black Widow. "[Feige is] a company man, and prone to corporate showdowns or shouting matches. But I'm told he's angry and embarrassed," revealed Belloni. "He lobbied Disney against the day-and-date plan for Black Widow, preferring the big screen exclusivity and not wanting to upset his talent."
Johansson and Feige have worked together for yonks and it's understandable that he would have her corner in this conflict. Once "the sh*t hit the fan" that Black Widow would be getting a simultaneous release in theatres and on Disney+, "the movie started tanking and Johansson's team threatened litigation," continues the report from Belloni. Before they went public with the lawsuit, Feige petitioned Disney to "make this right with her."
Evidently, these conversations didn't have the intended effect. "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," concluded Berlinski in his statement.
Featured Image Credit: Disney, Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons