Scarlett Johansson and Disney have resolved their lawsuit over the former’s earnings from the Marvel superhero picture Black Widow. Johansson filed the complaint in July, alleging a breach of contract after Disney opted to release the film simultaneously in theaters and on its Disney+ streaming platform.
The terms of the settlement were not made public. Johansson had requested a $50 million settlement from the studio.
“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.”
Alan Bergman, the chairman of Disney Studios Content, expressed satisfaction that the matter had been settled.
“I’m very pleased that we have reached a mutual agreement with Scarlett Johansson regarding ‘Black Widow,'” Bergman stated in a statement. “We appreciate her contributions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and look forward to working together on a number of upcoming projects, including Disney’s ‘Tower of Terror.’”
Johansson filed the case after Disney chose a “hybrid” release for Black Widow, yet her fees were predicated on the film’s box office success. The film’s current global box-office revenue is $377 million (£280 million), however it saw a 67 percent drop in its second week of release in the United States in July, the lowest recorded by any Marvel Cinematic Universe picture. Johansson said that her attorneys requested a contract renegotiation following Disney’s change in rollout strategy.
Disney responded in a statement, alleging that Johansson was paid $20 million for the film and that the actress’ lawsuit was “especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Several Hollywood insiders, including former SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris and CAA Co-Chair Bryan Lourd, came out in Johansson’s support, claiming that Disney was attempting “to make her appear to be someone they and I know she isn’t.”
Disney had sought to force Johansson’s complaint into arbitration, claiming that her contract required any issues to be addressed in private. A hearing on that request was set for March.
On July 9, after being delayed for more than a year due to COVID-19, “Black Widow” premiered to what was then a pandemic-best of $80 million in North America and $78 million from overseas theaters. However, box office receipts dropped precipitously after that. The National Association of Theater Owners published an unusual statement denouncing the strategy during its second weekend of release.
Johansson is now producing and acting in a Disney movie called Tower of Terror, as well as co-starring with Tom Hanks and Margot Robbie in Wes Anderson’s upcoming picture, which is being backed by Disney subsidiary Searchlight.