MCU Star Benedict Cumberbatch Responds To Scarlett Johansson Disney Lawsuit

"The whole thing's just a bit of a mess," the Doctor Strange actor says.


Scarlett Johansson's lawsuit against Disney over Black Widow has been one of the most talked-about events in recent months, and now another MCU actor has weighed in. Doctor Strange actor Benedict Cumberbatch said in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter that he thinks it's "sad what's going on between the lawyers." He specifically took issue with how the lawsuit has been wrapped up in the context of the pandemic.

"Just the verbiage and the accusations of, 'Put it in a global pandemic context.' The whole thing's just a bit of a mess," he said.

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Cumberbatch said the shift to simultaneous releases in theaters and on Disney+ With Premier Access is a "new paradigm." He said it will take time to get to a place where artists can be paid fairly even if a movie's box office numbers are lower than in pre-pandemic times.

"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," he said. "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. No one saw this coming, and no one should use hindsight to say, 'Well, it should have been done.' [Black Widow] 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."

Cumberbatch is not the first MCU star to react to Johansson's lawsuit, as Scarlet Witch actress Elizabeth Olsen previously spoke out in support of Johansson.

Johnasson's team sued Disney over claims that she is owed more money due to how Black Widow debuted simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ With Premier Access. Her team reportedly asked Disney for a $100 million payment, which included Johansson's $20 million fee to be in the movie and $80 million for what her team argued would have been her share of the box office results. However, Disney reportedly never made a counteroffer, instead opting to pay Johansson her $20 million fee and nothing else. Johansson's team then sued.

In response to the suit, Disney's legal team said Johansson's case has "no merit," going on to say the lawsuit is "especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic."

Whether or not Johansson makes any more MCU movies remains to be seen. She will appear in the next Wes Anderson movie, which is assembling a big cast that includes Tom Hanks, Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, and Margot Robbie.

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