Scarlett Johansson is embroiled in a legal battle with Disney over breach in contract with regard to Black Widow's release. She claimed that Disney dishonoured its commitment to release the film exclusively in theatres by simultaneously making the Marvel movie available on Disney+. Although Scarlett has filed a lawsuit, this isn't the first time the actor took a stand for her remuneration for her Marvel role.
Back in 2013, during the making of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth and other actors of the Avengers franchise were arm-twisted over demanding higher pay for their roles in the movie. A 2013 Deadline article quoted numerous industry insiders, stating that many cast members threatened to walk out if their contracts were not renegotiated.
The report, published shortly after Marvel released Iron Man 3 and announced Avengers: Age of Ultron, stated that actors attempted to renegotiate after being paid a 'pittance' for their first appearances. The report quoted an insider as saying, "Some received only $200,000 for Avengers and Downey got paid $50M. On what planet is that OK?" This led to some bad blood. "Marvel has created so much animosity by strong-arming and bullying on sequels already. It's counterproductive," another insider said.
Reporter Nikke Finke said that she'd heard "Marvel already has threatened to sue or recast when contracts and/or options are challenged. This led to a few cast members giving their green signal. She also said that Hemsworth wasn't too keen on returning for more Thor films, especially after a not-so-pleasant experience of working on Thor 2. "I also understand that Scarlett Johansson told cast mates she's 'not going to cut her quote' for the film," Finke wrote.
However, 'leader' Robert Downey Jr stood up for his colleagues. "I've learned the Avengers cast are becoming united behind Robert Downey Jr who is seen as the 'leader' – like 'a big brother' in the words of one rep – for all the younger actors in the ensemble." One insider also noted, "He's the only guy with real power in this situation. and b*lls of steel, too. He's already sent a message that he's not going to work for a place where they treat his colleagues like sh*t."
However, this time around, Scarlett's co-stars haven't publicly commented on her lawsuit against Disney. The actor reportedly faced losses of $50 million (around ₹371 crore), since her payment was tied to the box office collection, due to the concurrent digital release. "Disney intentionally induced Marvel's breach of the agreement, without justification, in order to prevent Ms. Johansson from realising the full benefit of her bargain with Marvel," the lawsuit stated.
Disney's representative said that they've 'fully complied' with her contract and that the digital release of Black Widow 'significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20 million she has received to date'.