Scarlett Johansson, Disney settle Black Widow lawsuit – CNET


Scarlett Johansson wasn’t pleased that Disney released Black Widow on its Disney Plus streaming service the same day it appeared in theaters.

Marvel Entertainment; screenshot by Joal Ryan/CNET

Scarlett Johansson and Disney have reached a settlement agreement regarding the Black Widow’s lawsuit against the studio, in which she accused Disney of breach of contract.

Johansson sued Disney in July over the company’s decision to stream Marvel blockbuster Black Widow on its streaming service Disney Plus simultaneously with its release in theaters. The suit alleged that Disney breached Johansson’s contract by forgoing an exclusive theatrical release and that she’s now missing out on millions of dollars in compensation because her pay was partly tied to the the film’s box office performance.  

“I am happy to have resolved our differences with Disney,” Johansson said in a statement. “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 that he was “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 a number of upcoming projects, including Disney’s Tower of Terror.”

Terms of the settlement weren’t revealed.

At the time the lawsuit was filed, Disney said it had “fully complied” with Johansson’s contract. On top of the $20 million Johansson has received to date, Disney said, releasing Black Widow on Disney Plus “significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation.” 

In what’s become standard practice during the coronavirus pandemic, Disney released the film in theaters and online at the same time. But some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, directors and producers, whose pay is often linked to box office performance in contracts that were devised pre-pandemic, have bristled at the strategy.

Black Widow’s streaming release is allegedly projected to cost Johansson $50 million in compensation, according to a Wall Street Journal report, which cited an anonymous person familiar with her contract.

CNET’s Joan E. Solsman contributed to this report.

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