Last month, Disney released Marvel’s “Black Widow” on Disney+ Premier Access and in cinemas. The movie went on to become one of the biggest hits of the year at the cinema and was the first film that Disney officially released early details on how many people purchased the film on Disney+ Premier Access.
Over the opening weekend, “Black Widow” drew in $215 million, $80M in domestic box office, $78M in international box office, and over $60M in Disney+ Premier Access consumer spend globally. After a month of being exclusively available in cinemas and on Disney+ Premier Access, on August 10th, the film was released on other digital platforms to purchase.
Following the hybrid release of the film, Scarlett Johannson’s legal team issued Disney with a lawsuit over the loss of income due to the release on Disney+ Premier Access. We’ve now got another update on how the film has performed on its digital release, as according to a motion filed by Disney’s outside lawyers this past Friday:
As of August 15, 2021, the Picture has grossed more than $367 million in worldwide box-office receipts and more than $125 million in streaming and download retail receipts.
This means that “Black Widow” has pulled in around $500 million dollars so far across cinema and digital releases. This puts it slightly behind “Fast & Furious 9”, which has so far brought in $681 million worldwide since its launch in May. Which is more than some other Marvel films including “Thor: The Dark World”, “Ant-Man, Ant-Man and the Wasp” and “Guardians of the Galaxy”.
The legal battle between Disney and Scarlett Johannson continues. Recently, Disney tried to move the business behind closed doors in New York instead of at a Los Angeles Superior Court. This resulted in Johansson and her legal team saying the move is an attempt to “hide its misconduct in a confidential arbitration.”
One of Johansson’s lawyers, John Berlinski, stated to Deadline:
“Because it knows that Marvel’s promises to give Black Widow a typical theatrical release ‘like its other films’ had everything to do with guaranteeing that Disney wouldn’t cannibalize box office receipts in order to boost Disney+ subscriptions. Yet that is exactly what happened – and we look forward to presenting the overwhelming evidence that proves it.”
This lawsuit will no doubt give us a further breakdown of how well the film has performed. But will this information tell us how many people specifically subscribed to Disney+ to then pay a further $30 for Disney+ Premier Access? This might be hard to prove, as unlike some other films like “Luca” or “Artemis Fowl”, “Black Widow” wasn’t available to all Disney+ subscribers and no doubt, Disney will be using this as one of the many arguments that the hybrid release wasn’t about boosting Disney+ subscriber numbers and more about getting in as much cash as possible during a pandemic, following multiple delays.
Either way, it’s likely the lawsuit between Disney and Scarlett Johannson will continue for a little longer. Especially if the evidence states that the contract between Disney and Scarlett Johansson was for an “exclusive” theatrical release and discussions between parties prior to release weren’t done correctly. It’s still going to get much messier for both sides, which is no doubt why Disney is trying to move the lawsuit behind closed doors and Scarlett Johannson’s legal team are being so open with the public to force Disney to backtrack.
Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.