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Benedict Cumberbatch Reveals His True Feelings On The Scarlett Johansson Lawsuit

In July 2021, Scarlett Johansson filed a lawsuit against Disney. The lawsuit came just a few weeks after the studio, which happens to be the parent company of Marvel Studios, released the Johansson-led "Black Widow" on Disney+ the same day as the film's theatrical premiere. Johansson's "Black Widow" contract, as detailed in the lawsuit, stipulated that her pay would include a percentage of the film's box office earnings. At the time of their contract, Disney had notably planned on releasing "Black Widow" exclusively in theaters but ultimately changed course in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Johansson's team alleges that she lost out on potential earnings because the film's day one streaming availability detracted from what otherwise might have been a more profitable box office gross. Taking all that into account, Johansson's suit argues that Disney should have renegotiated her contract to account for the change in the studio's "Black Widow" release strategy. The lawsuit has sparked numerous conversations both inside and outside of the entertainment industry, and as of September, the conflict may have even jeopardized the involvement of the Russo brothers in any future Marvel Studios projects.

While the lawsuit is still ongoing, none other than Doctor Strange himself, Benedict Cumberbatch, has weighed in with his thoughts on the dispute.

Benedict Cumberbatch seems disheartened by the Black Widow lawsuit

Benedict Cumberbatch shared his thoughts on the current legal battle between Scarlett Johansson and Disney in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, which also touched on his role in Marvel Studios' upcoming "Spider-Man: No Way Home." "It's sad what's going on between the lawyers," Cumberbatch said. "Just the verbiage and the accusations of, 'Put it in a global pandemic context.' The whole thing's just a bit of a mess."

His comment about the "global pandemic context" seems to be in reference to Disney's initial response to Johannsen's allegations, which accused the "Black Widow" actress and her team of exhibiting "callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic." Cumberbatch, meanwhile, went on to acknowledge the difficulty inherent in determining how actors might be best compensated for their work at the same time that every Hollywood studio, including "the billion-dollar business that is Disney," is struggling to figure out how best to adapt their business practices according to the ongoing global situation.

"How does an artist's normal compensation with box office bonuses, how does it work?" Cumberbatch pondered. "No one saw this coming, and no one should use hindsight to say, 'Well, it should have been done.' That 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." In short, the "Doctor Strange" actor seems to be taking neither the side of Johansson nor his present-day employer but simply sharing his thoughts on the complications that caused the lawsuit to happen in the first place.