Black Mark For Disney With Scarlett Johansson

Marvel’s Black Widow sues Disney over loss of revenue.


Jenny Quintano, Editor-in-Chief

Everyone knows Natasha Romanoff is a sneaky spy with a great sassy attitude. Scarlett Johansson definitely has learned a few tricks and doesn’t let anyone get in her way.

Starting in Iron Man 2 with Natasha Romanoff being an undercover spy, the character went on to be part of an original six Avengers, sacrificing herself to get the soul stone to defeat Thanos in Endgame. Black Widow fans anxiously awaited the dark secrets and tragic past of Romanoff that would be revealed on July 9. After Johansson worked with Marvel over a decade playing the first female superhero, at last they gave her character recognition. The film Black Widow got a striking reaction from fans! When fans found out Cate Shortland was directing the film, it became instantly clear that this film would have an amazing impact for young girls and women. It depicts a different side of Natasha Romanoff, with more powerful scenes instead of merely sexualized ones, as some of the films in the past have done. 

When July 9 came along, however, the film was dropped in theaters as well as on Disney Plus. On July 29, Johansson filed a lawsuit against Disney. According to reports, Marvel and Disney breached Johansson’s contract by releasing the film at the same time as its theatrical debut. Additionally, Johansson’s salary was based in large part on box office performance (number of tickets sold). As a result, Johansson claims she got “cheated” out of about $60 million due to Disney’s actions–as Marvel promised to give Johansson the same theatrical release as other Marvel films.

Disney replied rapidly, blaming COVID as the reason why they dropped it on Disney Plus. Adding insult to injury, Johansson feels singled out. Disney is giving Free Guy and Shang-Chi an exclusive release with a 45-day boxed release. So, does Johansson have solid grounds for the case? Jocelyn Moreno (11) thinks so. “I believe that Scarlett has all the right to sue Disney. If she felt like she deserved more for the role that she partook in the movie, then they should honor that.”  Moreno went on to say, “Disney had no right legally to put it on Disney–especially when they knew the consequences, despite COVID and the Delta Variant.”

Is COVID the real reason or was it just an excuse? Moreno responds. “I don’t believe that COVID was a valid reason for dropping it and, honestly, if that’s what they are saying, I think it’s just an excuse to get out of financial trouble.” Defending her claim, Moreno adds this: “Ryan Reynolds was allowed his money during COVID, and she should get the same treatment. It’s unfair…and blaming COVID for their poor actions without speaking to the actress first is just unprofessional.”

Once the audience found out about the lawsuit and what was going on with the whole situation, fans rapidly supported Johansson in the suit. The media’s interest was now piqued, and Marvel fans tried to encourage others to watch the movie in theaters (if it was available and safe for them) to help and support Johansson.

This lawsuit has impacted Disney’s reputation, making many wonder how they could do this to an A-List female Hollywood celebrity. “Ultimately, this is going to affect women in a positive way,” Moreno asserts. “Even though it is at Scarlett’s cost, this will encourage more women to fight for what they think is fair in their work industry–whether in Hollywood or not. I feel like this is going to show women that they do have a voice, and they can use that voice for their benefit.”

So how has this changed Moreno’s view on Disney? “In my eyes, this is not making Disney look good at all. I do not want to support a company that is blatantly being misogynistic and not giving everyone the same opportunity. Disney has had plenty of scandals in the past,” she notes, “and this is just pushing them further in a hole. They should not have messed with such a big influence like Scarlett Johansson.”

Sorry, Disney, but as Natasha Romanoff said in Winter Soldier: “Did I step on your moment?”