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Names and faces

by The Associated Press | August 1, 2021 at 5:09 a.m.

• Scarlett Johansson, who's been in nine Marvel movies going back to "Iron Man 2," is suing the Walt Disney Co. over its streaming release of "Black Widow," which she said breached her contract and deprived her of potential earnings. In a lawsuit filed last week in Los Angeles Superior Court, the "Black Widow" star and executive producer said her contract guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release. Johansson's earnings were tied to the box-office performance of the film, which the company released simultaneously in theaters and on its streaming service Disney+ for a $30 rental. "Ms. Johansson gave Disney and Marvel every opportunity to right their wrong and make good on Marvel's promise," the lawsuit says. "Disney intentionally induced Marvel's breach of the Agreement, without justification, in order to prevent Ms. Johansson from realizing the full benefit of her bargain with Marvel." Disney said the suit has "no merit whatsoever" and "is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic." It also said the Disney+ release "has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date." After its release was delayed more than a year, "Black Widow" debuted to a pandemic-best $80 million in North America and $78 million from international theaters three weeks ago, but theatrical grosses declined sharply after that. The National Association of Theater Owners issued a rare statement criticizing the strategy, asserting that simultaneous release lends itself to lost profits and higher-quality piracy.

• Kris Wu, the Chinese-Canadian pop star, has been detained on suspicion of rape, Beijing police announced Saturday, after an accusation that the former member of the Korean boy band EXO lured young women into sexual relationships. Wu, 30, earlier was accused by a teenager of having sex with her while she was drunk. He denied the accusation. The teen said seven other women contacted her to say Wu seduced them with promises of jobs and other opportunities. She said some were younger than 18 but gave no indication whether they were younger than China's age of consent of 14. Wu has been "criminally detained" on suspicion of rape "in response to relevant information reported on the internet," including that he "repeatedly lured young women to have sexual relations," the police statement said. It gave no details. The pop star has previously denied those accusations as well. "There was no 'groupie sex'! There was no 'underage'!" Wu wrote last month on his social media account. "If there were this kind of thing, please everyone relax, I would put myself in jail!"

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