Elizabeth Olsen Defends Scarlett Johansson In Disney Battle Over Black Widow Release

By Pierre Chanliau Updated:
Scarlett Witch and Black Widow

It was reported at the tail end of July that actress Scarlett Johansson filed a lawsuit against Disney. According to the suit's allegations, "Disney intentionally induced Marvel's breach of agreement" to prevent Johansson "from realizing the full benefit of her bargain with Marvel" for the Black Widow theatrical release.

Disney claimed that the lawsuit had "no merit whatsoever" to the embarrassment of Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and Johansson for such a "callous" response.

Some have given their support and trust to Johansson in this lawsuit, like director James Gunn who said "I trust Scarlett." 

Now, another has commented on the lawsuit, giving their own support for the longtime MCU actress.


Black Widow WandaVision

In an interview with WandaVision actress Elizabeth Olsen, Vanity Fair asked if she had any concerns about the theatrical experience and how films are released today, using Scarlett Johansson's ongoing lawsuit with Disney over Black Widow as an example.

Olsen put her concern squarely on "small movies getting the opportunity to be seen in theaters" and would like to see "art films and art house theaters" receive support:

"I'm worried about a bunch of things. Not worried on Scarlett's behalf. But I'm worried about small movies getting the opportunity to be seen in theaters. That was already a thing pre-COVID. I like going to the movies and I don't necessarily want to see only an Oscar contender or a blockbuster. I would like to see art films and art house theaters."

The actress hopes that there will be "some sort of solution" to let those films and theaters exist in today's landscape and expects studio-owned theaters to make a return:

"And so I do worry about that, and people having to keep these theaters alive. And I don't know how financially that works for these theaters. I do hope that there's some sort of solution that the larger companies are coming together to keep, at least in L.A. this is going to happen. But I do think it's going to be how it kind of used to be when studios owned theaters."

As for Scarlett Johansson's lawsuit, Olsen believes that to be minor in comparison and that it's "just all contracts," which will be resolved simply based on its contents:

"And I have a feeling that we might go back to that being the only way to keep them alive with such expensive real estate. But when it comes to actors and their earnings, I mean, that's just, that's just all contracts. So it's either in the contract or it's not."

However, Olsen did express her support for Johansson's actions, saying "I think she's so tough and literally when I read that I was like, 'Good for you Scarlett.'"


At this point, it seems abundantly apparent that there was drastically poor communication between Disney and Scarlett Johansson when it came to her contract and how she would be paid. It certainly didn't help that Disney attorney Daniel Petrocelli called her lawsuit "a highly orchestrated PR campaign."

The attorney claimed that "we treated Disney Premier Access (revenue) like box office for the purposes of the bonus requirements in the contract. That only enhanced the economics for Ms. Johansson." This actually sounds reasonable, but the tone Disney is setting throughout this whole process isn't helping itself.

Hopefully, moving forward, Disney has learned its lesson about how to communicate with its talent and not cause controversies like this in the future. It seems that might take some time with new Disney CEO Bob Chapek apparently not being used to dealing with talent and still making awkward statements.

Black Widow will be available to stream for free on Disney+ in October

- In This Article: Black Widow
Release Date
July 09, 2021
- About The Author: Pierre Chanliau
Pierre Chanliau began as a news & feature writer for The Direct at the site's launch in 2020. As a longtime reader of superhero comic books, Pierre's knowledge of Marvel and DC is extensive, informing his reporting and editorial pieces regarding the MCU and DCU.