Scarlett Johansson and Walt Disney Studios have resolved their legal dispute which resulted from her Marvel movie Black Widow receiving a day-and-date release in theaters. Just days after the first court hearing was pushed back to March 2022, the Oscar nominee and the House of Mouse have made peace. And it was expensive for the latter.
In a statement via Deadline, Scarlett Johansson said she is happy to have resolved her differences with Disney. She also spoke fondly of their working relationship. “I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve done together over the years and have greatly enjoyed my creative relationship with the team,” she said. “I look forward to continuing our collaboration in years to come.”
Unlike their scathing statements over the past few months, Disney had nothing but love for the actress who did an incredible job of bringing Natasha Romanoff to life in almost ten different movies. “I’m very pleased that we have been able to come to a mutual agreement with Scarlett Johansson regarding Black Widow,” said Alan Bergman, Chairman, Disney Studios Content. “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.”
Neither side revealed how much money was involved in the settlement, which is not unusual in cases like this. However, according to Deadline’s sources, the deal will run to more than $40 million. Additionally, the funds will not be paid in a single transaction by Disney. Instead, the payments to Scarlett Johansson will be made in a mutually agreed upon time frame.
When Scarlett Johansson negotiated her deal for Black Widow in 2017, her agent pushed for a backend deal that would see most of the Marvel star’s compensation come from a cut of the box-office receipts. A few weeks after its release, Black Widow earned comparatively less than its predecessors (like Captain America: Civil War). While the pandemic is to blame, so is Disney’s decision to release the movie on its streaming service for just $30.
Although the studio banked an additional $60 million in its opening weekend due to the streaming release, Scarlett Johansson earned far less than expected. As Disney’s stock price rose on Wall Street’s, executives were rewarded for their streaming-centric management of the company. That’s the narrative outlined in the lawsuit filed by Johansson, claiming the release of Black Widow on Disney+ was a breach of her contract. The lawsuit contends that the streaming release siphoned theatergoers and decreased her compensation which was tied to the movie’s theatrical revenue.
Disney’s response to the Scarlett Johansson lawsuit was not pretty. In a statement, the company shamed Scarlett Johansson by saying her lawsuit showed “callous disregard” for the pandemic. The latter has been the studio’s official reason for Black Widow’s day-and-date release in theaters on and Disney+. The company also disclosed the star’s $20 million salary for the movie (via Indie Wire).
Interestingly, Black Widow was (for a time) the highest-grossing movie of the pandemic at the domestic box office earning approximately $183.6 million. The film was recently pushed to second place by Disney and Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings which has now grossed over $200 million. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen if streaming is having a major impact on the income of actors, writers, directors, producers with less stature than Scarlett Johansson.