Marvel star Scarlett Johansson and Walt Disney have settled the breach of contract lawsuit the “Black Widow” actress brought after the debut of the film.
Scarlett Johansson and Disney have settled a breach of contract lawsuit over the star’s “Black Widow” payday reported on many mediums. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“I am happy to have resolved our differences with Disney,” stated Johansson. “I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve done together over the years and have greatly enjoyed my creative relationship with the team. I look forward to continuing our collaboration in years to come.”
Disney Studios chairman Alan Bergman added: “I’m very pleased that we have been able to come to a mutual agreement with Scarlett Johansson regarding “Black Widow”. We appreciate her contributions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and look forward to working together on several upcoming projects, including Disney’s “Tower of Terror”.”
The explosive suit, filed by the actress in July in Los Angeles Superior Court, claimed that the studio sacrificed the film’s box office potential to grow its fledgling Disney+ streaming service. Disney countered that Johansson was paid $20 million for the film.
The settlement brings to a close a back-and-forth PR battle that pitted the CAA-repped star against Disney and was poised to have dramatic implications for all of Hollywood’s major studios. Johansson’s cause received support in the industry, with talent and executives — including Jamie Lee Curtis, Marvel’s “WandaVision” star Elizabeth Olsen and mogul Jason Blum — speaking out on her behalf.
Disney had sought to force Johansson’s suit into arbitration, arguing that her contract contained a provision requiring that any disputes be settled in private. A hearing on that motion was scheduled for March, however, suggesting that the parties were not eager to fight it out in court.
The Hungary-shot “Black Widow” was originally set to debut on May 1, 2020, but was postponed several times due to the pandemic. In March 2021, Disney announced that it would be released simultaneously in theaters and via Premier Access on Disney Plus on July 9, allowing subscribers to rent the film for $30. The movie grossed $80 million in theaters in its opening weekend — not bad for the pandemic, but terrible by pre-pandemic Marvel standards.
Disney revealed in a filing in August that “Black Widow” had grossed $125 million on streaming, in addition to its $367 million box office gross.
Johansson argued that the streaming release cannibalized the theatrical gross, and violated her contract. Disney also released “Jungle Cruise” and “Cruella” concurrently in theaters and on Disney Plus.
Warner Bros., which released its entire 2021 slate with the same hybrid model, paid out handsome sums to compensate its stars for lost backend revenue.