Joe Russo – who directed Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame with his brother – has opened up about Disney’s treatment of the Black Widow movie and Scarlett Johansson. In an interview with Den of Geek Russo went so far as to label the situation “disturbing” saying it was born of studios devaluing the work of creatives.
“We’re certainly concerned with the trend in the market that’s moving away from artists. There’s been a lot of value in tech companies getting involved in making content, but there’s also some downsides to that,” Russo said. “Those downsides include tech companies like Netflix and Apple and Amazon having much deeper pockets than studios do, and they can pay more and that’s starting to scare the studios.”
“So the studios are having a conservative reaction, and they’re trying to downplay their need for stars,” he continued. “They’re trying to force IP to be their star, and in accordance with that they’re also then trying to underpay and diminish the need for stars on their projects. That was really not an appropriate way for them to handle that situation. It was disturbing to us as artists.”
Russo finished by adding he’s happy the situation is resolved now as he’s good friends with Johansson. Johansson filed a lawsuit against Disney back in July 2021 after the studio simultaneously release her action movie Black Widow in theatres and on the streaming service Disney Plus through Premier Access.
Johansson alleged that Disney had broken a clause in her contract which stipulated that the film would receive an exclusive theatrical release, and that as a result, she had missed out on a “very large box office bonus”.
In response, Disney issued a statement saying that the lawsuit was meritless. It claimed her suit showed “callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.” Disney said that it had fully complied with Johansson’s contract and that the decision to release the film on streaming had “significantly enhanced [her] ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20 million she has received to date.”
Johansson’s suit was settled under undisclosed terms in October 2021. If you prefer your Marvel news a bit more upbeat check out our MCU movies ranking.