The buzz around Scarlett Johansson’s solo movie Black Widow is already dying out. And yet, the actress and the movie have been in talks because of the ongoing lawsuit between Scarlett Johansson and Disney+ regarding its parallel release. Even veterans like Benedict Cumberbatch have spoken up now.
Black Widow saw its theatrical release after having to be delayed for over a year because of the pandemic. But it came with its own setbacks. While Scarlett Johansson was promised a solo release for her standalone Marvel prequel, Disney+ drummed out its fancy by premiering it to their streaming service, allowing fans to watch the movie at home with their Premium Access.
In the event of this mashed up release, a very furious Scarlett Johansson sued Disney+ on account of breach of contract. The House of Mouse countered the actress’ accusation by saying the lawsuit had “no merit whatsoever” and called the whole act to be “sad and depressing.”
Several reports claimed that Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios, was “angry and embarrassed” about how the circumstances rolled out.
One of the biggest MCU veterans, Benedict Cumberbatch, has taken a side in this legal standing between the actress and the corporation.
The Hollywood Reporter recently interviewed Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Doctor Strange, which is played by Hollywood’s renowned actor Benedict Cumberbatch. A brief discussion about the legal battle between Scarlett Johansson and Disney+ happened as well.
“It’s sad what’s going on between the lawyers,” said the MCU old-timer about the proceedings of both the parties involved. He said the whole thing is “just a bit of a mess.”
“It’s sad what’s going on between the lawyers. Just the verbiage and the accusations of, ‘Put it in a global pandemic context.’ The whole thing’s just a bit of a mess. We’re trying to understand what the revenue streams should be for artists that contribute to the billion-dollar business that is Disney. And it has to be contractualized.”
Benedict Cumberbatch also pointed out that the ordeal of having a parallel release on both platforms is a “new paradigm” and called it a “very complex one.”
“How does an artist’s normal compensation with box office bonuses, how does it work? It’s a new paradigm, and it’s a very complex one. No one saw this coming, and no one should use hindsight to say, ‘Well, it should have been done.’ That was the first of these films that was going to get a cinematic release during the pandemic and got stalled and stalled and stalled. It’s very new territory.”
Fans all over the internet and social media are engrossed. They’re keeping tabs on the legal proceedings in the matter and taking stands, and to some extent, it does get a bit messy. Seeing this, Benedict Cumberbatch’s observation that calls everything “a bit of a mess” is an appropriate one.
Whether the legal battle will conclude to be in Johansson’s favor, or whether the two sides would come to a settlement that benefits all concerned parties, is yet to be determined. But Doctor Strange’s comment on Disney’s strategy action of this hybrid release being “very complex” has led people to believe that there is more to the matter than has been disclosed to the public.
Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow lawsuit has had many actors from within the MCU and outside speak up in the past as well.
Elizabeth Olsen, who portrayed Wanda Maximoff in Disney’s WandaVision, stuck up for the Black Widow and added her concerns about the matter getting sorted out sooner rather than later. Johansson has received standing support from other MCU veterans like James Gunn and Dave Bautista, who directed Guardian of the Galaxy Vol. 1 and 2.
At the same time, Marvel Studios has had to see some unforeseen setbacks because of the legal battle that could jeopardise their future. The director duo, Anthony and Joe Russo have reportedly “hit an impasse” when it comes to negotiating their return to the MCU for their next film. This only exhibits how, even people and franchises who are not associated with the lawsuit, are having to face consequences.
We can believe that the legal battle between Johansson and Disney has come to a point where a solid stand needs to be taken. We can only hope that Cumberbatch’s recent comments on the topic fuel the need. Especially because it is now more than evident that this unethical tactic of a parallel release is a “very new territory.” And while it is important to make sure that the interests of both the defenders are met, it is also important to resolve the case soon.
You can stream Black Widow for free for all Disney+ subscription packages from October 6, 2021.