Benedict Cumberbatch says 'Avengers' costar Scarlett Johansson's Disney lawsuit is a 'bit of a mess'
- Johansson started legal proceedings against Disney earlier this year over the release of "Black Widow."
- "It's sad what's going on between the lawyers," Cumberbatch said
- Cumberbatch and Johnasson both star in Marvel's "Avengers" movies, which are owned by Disney.
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Benedict Cumberbatch has become the latest MCU star to enter the debate surrounding Scarlett Johansson's Disney lawsuit.
"It's sad what's going on between the lawyers," Cumberbatch said during a recent profile with The Hollywood Reporter . "Just the verbiage and the accusations of, 'Put it in a global pandemic context.' The whole thing's just a bit of a mess."
Cumberbatch, who starred alongside Johansson in multiple iterations of the "Avengers" series, continued: "We're trying to understand what the revenue streams should be for artists that contribute to the billion-dollar business that is Disney. And it has to be contractualized. How does an artist's normal compensation with box office bonuses, how does it work? It's a new paradigm, and it's a very complex one."
Johansson filed a lawsuit against Disney earlier this year claiming that the company violated her contract when it released the recent superhero blockbuster "Black Widow" simultaneously on the Disney+ streaming platform and in movie theaters. A copy of the lawsuit obtained by Insider claims that Johansson's "Black Widow" contract was for an exclusive movie theater release, with her salary largely based on the film's box office performance.
The suit also said that Johansson's representatives received assurances from Marvel in May 2019 that "Black Widow" would still have a traditional theatrical release when they contacted the company after Johansson grew concerned that Disney had plans to experiment with simultaneous streaming and theatrical releases. A source told The Wall Street Journal , who first reported the news of the suit, that the actor could have missed out on $50 million due to the release strategy change.
Speaking about the historic nature of the lawsuit, Cumberbatch continued: "No one saw this coming, and no one should use hindsight to say, 'Well, it should have been done.' That was the first of these films that was going to get a cinematic release during the pandemic and got stalled and stalled and stalled. It's very new territory."
Disney responded to Johansson's lawsuit with a statement in which they disclosed that the actress has earned $20 million to date for the movie.
"There is no merit whatsoever to this filing," a Disney spokesperson said. "The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic."
The company also claimed that the "Black Widow" release on Disney+ with paying Premier Access "significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation."
Disney's statement was heavily criticized by multiple Hollywood women's advocacy groups who said the statement was a "gendered attack" on Johansson.
"While we take no position on the business issues in the litigation between Scarlett Johansson and The Walt Disney Company," a joining statement from Time's Up, Women In Film, and ReFrame read, "we stand firmly against Disney's recent statement which attempts to characterize Johansson as insensitive or selfish for defending her contractual business rights."Read the original article on Insider