The decision made by Disney to release 'Black Widow' in theatres and on streaming service Disney Plus at the same time has had legal ramifications.
The star of 'Black Widow', Scarlett Johansson, is now suing Disney for breach of contract.
In a lawsuit filed on Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, attorneys for Johansson allege that the star’s contract was breached when the studio opted not to debut the film exclusively in theatres.
They claim that this resulted in lower ticket sales than expected for the Marvel movie.
Much of Johansson’s compensation was tied to the box office performance of 'Black Widow'.
The lawsuit reads: "Disney intentionally induced Marvel’s breach of the agreement, without justification, in order to prevent Ms. Johansson from realising the full benefit of her bargain with Marvel."
'Black Widow' became available to stream on Disney+ for the premium price of €22 (or $30) on July 9th.
It hit cinemas in Ireland and the UK on the slightly earlier date of July 7th.
Disney claimed that the move to make the movie available in both capacities was due to remaining COVID-19 closures and capacity restrictions.
The House of Mouse has since clapped back at ScarJo's move.
They released a statement reading: "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."
They also claimed that the actress has already received $20 million for her work.
They added that "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."
There was no indication as to whether Johansson's pact was renegotiated so that she could share in streaming rental revenue.
'Black Widow' did set a pandemic-era box office record with a $80 million domestic debut. It earned an additional $78 million overseas and $60 million on Disney Plus.
However, ticket sales have depreciated in recent weeks. To date, its total earnings are $319 million.
In a statement to Variety, John Berlinski, an attorney for Johansson, said: "It’s no secret that Disney is releasing films like ‘Black Widow’ directly onto Disney Plus to increase subscribers and thereby boost the company’s stock price — and that it’s hiding behind COVID-19 as a pretext to do so.
"But ignoring the contracts of the artists responsible for the success of its films in furtherance of this short-sighted strategy violates their rights and we look forward to proving as much in court.
"This will surely not be the last case where Hollywood talent stands up to Disney and makes it clear that, whatever the company may pretend, it has a legal obligation to honor its contracts."