While Black Widow released on July 9 in both cinema halls and Disney+ Premier Access (where available) in most markets, in India it released free of cost on Disney+ Hotstar due to the lingering impact of Covid-19’s second wave.
The said hybrid release is the bone of contention and a legal battle between Black Widow star Scarlett Johansson and Disney. She sued Disney in late July with her lawsuit saying the decision to release the movie on Disney+’ Premier Access service breached the terms of her contract and robbed her of bonuses up to $50 million.
The lawsuit said, “Disney intentionally induced Marvel’s breach of the agreement, without justification, in order to prevent Ms. Johansson from realizing the full benefit of her bargain with Marvel.”
Disney’s response came quick. On the same day, it released a statement saying Johansson’s lawsuit has “no merit whatsoever. “The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” it continued.
The lawsuit is said to have huge implications and is another battle in the war between the two competing models of releasing movies. The theatrical model was floundering before the Covid-19 pandemic, and has been exacerbated further.
Earlier, Feige was said to be “angry and embarrassed” by the whole fiasco according to The Hollywood Reporter.