Dave Bautista divides fans with response to Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow lawsuit against Disney

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ star is first Marvel co-star to address controversy

Jacob Stolworthy
Tuesday 03 August 2021 09:55
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Dave Bautista has become Scarlett Johansson’s first Marvel co-star to comment on her lawsuit against Disney – but his words have divided fans.

On Thursday (29 July), Johansson alleged that the simultaneous release of Black Widow on Disney Plus as well as in cinemas violated her contract and a “promise” Marvel made before production.

The actor’s lawsuit says that her compensation for the movie was “largely based” on Black Widow’s box office performance, and had “extracted a promise from Marvel that the release would be a ‘theatrical release’.’

It continues: “Disney was well aware of this promise, but nonetheless directed Marvel to violate its pledge and instead release the Picture on the Disney+ streaming service the very same day it was released in movie theatres.”

In response to Johansson, Disney released a statement, telling The Independent: “There is no merit whatsoever to this filing. The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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“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 (£14.3m) she has received to date.”

Disney has been widely criticised for its response, with Johansson’s talent agency condemning the studio for disclosing her salary.

As of writing, aside from Bautista, none of Johansson’s’ fellow Marvel stars have commented on the controversy.

Scarlett Johansson in ‘Black Widow’

After the news broke, the actor, who plays Drax in the Guardians of the Galaxy films, shared a link to a report on Twitter, writing: “Told em they should’ve made a #Drax movie but noooooo!”

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His post, which seemingly jokes that the studio could have avoided a lawsuit had they opted to make a standalone Drax film instead of Black Widow, has divided fans, with many complaining that he’s making light of Johansson’s tough situation.

Others jumped to the actor’s defence, arguing that he meant no harm from the message.

Dave Bautista divides fans over response to Scarlett Johansson’s Disney lawsuit

As it stands, Black Widow is one of the lowest-grossing Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films to date with global takings of $319.5m (£229m), a figure that cinema owners are attributing to the simultaneous streaming release.

The film, which is Johansson’s character’s long overdue standalone outing, is expected to be her final MCU appearance. It was originally scheduled to be released in May 2020, but was delayed until June 2021.

On Monday (2 August), Bautista dropped the revelation that he was never asked by Disney to voice his Guardians character in Marvel animated series What If...?, which is released on Disney Plus on 11 August.

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