Disney Is Demanding That Scarlett Johansson's BLACK WIDOW Suit Be Moved To Arbitration

The saga continues, as Disney has now filed a motion demanding that Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow lawsuit be moved to arbitration. The filings were made last night in Los Angeles Superior Court.

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Black Widow star Scarlett Johansson recently filed a lawsuit against the Walt Disney Co., alleging that her contract was breached when the Marvel Studios movie was released on Disney+ and in theaters at the same time.

Apparently, Black Widow had been guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release when Johansson signed on to reprise the role of Natasha Romanoff, and the actress is claiming that Disney was aware that making the movie available to stream would dissuade theatre attendance, but "did so anyway, knowingly and intentionally."

There's been some back and forth since, but the situation has now become even more contentious, as THR reports that Disney's lawyers have filed a motion demanding that Johansson’s suit be moved to arbitration. In a distinction that may prove crucial, the deal for Johansson’s services came with Marvel, not Disney.

“The plain and expansive language of the arbitration agreement easily encompasses Periwinkle’s Complaint,” states the motion. “In a futile effort to evade this unavoidable result (and generate publicity through a public filing), Periwinkle excluded Marvel as a party to this lawsuit––substituting instead its parent company Disney under contract-interference theories. But longstanding principles do not permit such gamesmanship.”

Disney points out that Black Widow played on more than 9,000 screens in the U.S. (allegedly satisfying its obligation), and has earned $367M+ at the worldwide box office along with $125M+ on streaming for a collective haul of almost $500M. They also compare Widow's performance to other MCU films, noting that the opening weekend take was “more than that of many other Marvel Cinematic Universe films, including Thor: The Dark World; Ant-Man; Ant-Man and the Wasp; and Guardians of the Galaxy.

You can check out the full arbitration provision for yourselves here. We'll keep you updated on this increasingly messy situation.

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