Disney is a greedy company. From reworking the fast pass system at its theme parks, raising the prices for theme park tickets, and the creation of Premier Access on Disney+, it is clear that Walt Disney’s vision of affordable entertainment is long gone. So gone, in fact, that now the company has not been paying their actors and actresses.
In July of 2021, Disney decided to release Black Widow both in theaters, and on their streaming service, Disney+, so that they could make more revenue. However, this decision to release the film through both modalities left Scarlett Johansson, the lead actress in the film, uncompensated. Because nowhere in Scarlett Johansson’s contract with Disney does it state that Disney has to pay her for the revenue they make from their streaming service, Scarlett Johansson filed a lawsuit. As a result of the backlash, Disney came out with this response:
“There is no merit whatsoever to this filing. The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. 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 she has received to date.”
It is no secret that Disney is releasing films like Black Widow on their streaming service to increase subscribers and boost their stock. Not only does the statement fail to consider that the release on both services short changes Black Widow by not having an exclusive box office run, Disney is trying to make Scarlett Johansson seem like a villain. Additionally, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have nothing to do with their obvious breach of a contract, and should not be used as an excuse for the company’s greedy decision. Ms. Johansson never abided to release Black Widow on Disney+, and to compensate for her after breaching contract is too little, too late.
Despite the rumours that Disney was going to blacklist Scarlett Johansson from their company, the two settled the filed lawsuit in late September of 2021. While the terms were not disclosed, Ms Johansson states that “she is happy to have resolved our differences.”.