By Stephen Ippolito | July 30th, 2021
Yesterday news broke that actress Scarlett Johansson was suing Disney for releasing Black Widow earlier this month on Disney+ the same day it hit theaters. The 36-year old star alleged that this was a breach of her contract and that it caused her to lose out on over $50M in box office revenue sharing.
Now according to The Hollywood Reporter’s Matthew Belloni, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige is also upset at Disney for the film’s hybrid release. He’s also mad about how they’ve handled the situation with Johansson.
“[Feige is] a company man, and not prone to corporate showdowns or shouting matches. But I’m told he’s angry and embarrassed,” Belloni’s newsletter reads in part. “He lobbied Disney against the day-and-date plan for Black Widow, preferring the big screen exclusivity and not wanting to upset his talent. And then when the sh-t hit the fan, the movie started tanking, and Johansson’s team threatened litigation, he wanted Disney to make this right with her. (Disney declined to comment on Feige.)”
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about Feige wanting an exclusive theater release for the Phase Four film. Back in February it was reported that the MCU mastermind was pushing Disney to keep it that way. However, after moving the film back three different times in over a year, they finally went against his wishes.
As for how they’ve handled the Johansson situation, it makes perfect sense why he would be upset. Feige wants to hire the best talent for his roles on screen and off. If it becomes known Disney doesn’t treat its talent fairly, then it’s going to be harder for him to do his job and hire the people he wants.
It will be interesting to see where things go from here. I doubt Disney is in danger of losing its star executive, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye on.