Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige is reportedly “angry and embarrassed” over Disney’s response to Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit, feeling the company did not do enough to make it right with one of Marvel’s biggest stars.
The film was released both in theatres and through Disney+’s Premier Access tier, which led Johansson to sue the company over the decision. The move alleges that Johansson’s initial contract was breached once the film no longer received a “theatrical wide release”
In the ‘What I’m Hearing…’ newsletter from former The Hollywood Reporter editor Matthew Belloni, Feige apparently lobbied Disney to keep ‘Black Widow’ a theatrical-only release to not upset Johansson.
“[Feige is] a company man, and prone to corporate showdowns or shouting matches. But I’m told he’s angry and embarrassed,” Belloni reports. “He lobbied Disney against the day-and-date plan for ‘Black Widow’, preferring the big screen exclusivity and not wanting to upset his talent.”
Furthermore, the report says that when “the [expletive] hit the fan, the movie started tanking and Johansson’s team threatened litigation,” Feige tried to get Disney to “make this right with her.”
This comes after Disney released a statement on Thursday in response to Johansson’s lawsuit, arguing that the ordeal is “especially sad and distressing” amid the current box office circumstances.
“There is no merit whatsoever to this filing,” Disney’s statement reads. “The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Disney has fully complied with Ms. Johansson’s contract and furthermore, 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.”