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Opinion
Tara Lachapelle

Disney Knows Better Than to Battle a Superhero

“Black Widow” star Scarlett Johansson’s suit reveals the overlooked cost of going all in on streaming and the mess it causes.

A brand known for expertly averting scandal is on bad terms with the current star of its biggest film franchise.

A brand known for expertly averting scandal is on bad terms with the current star of its biggest film franchise.

Photographer: Marvel/Disney

“Black Widow” star Scarlett Johansson is reminding Hollywood that at least one group still favors the box office: the actors who were promised a big payday from it. Mess with that and you just might hear from their lawyers. For companies like Walt Disney Co., it’s the overlooked cost of going all in on streaming, where tangled rights deals and prickly contracts are making for a messy transition. 

“Scarlett Johansson Sues Disney” was quite the eye-catching headline Thursday. A brand known for expertly averting scandal is on bad terms with the current star of its biggest film franchise — a development almost more enticing than the superhero plot itself. But with companies such as Disney actively undermining the movie-theater business to drive more viewers to their streaming-video apps, it was only a matter of time before one of these situations erupted.