Scarlett Johansson and Walt Disney Co. on Thursdayon the streaming release of “Black Widow,” which quickly ended what had begun as the first major fight between a studio and a star over recent changes to movie release plans.
Johansson filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court two months ago, saying the Marvel movie release violated her contract and deprived her of potential earnings.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the two parties released a joint statement in which they pledged to continue working together.
“I am happy to have resolved our differences with Disney,” said Johansson, who played Natasha Romanoff, also known as Black Widow, in nine films dating back to 2010’s “Iron Man 2”. “I am incredibly proud of the work we have done. done together over the years and have greatly enjoyed my creative relationship with the team. I look forward to continuing our collaboration. “
Alan Bergman, president of content at Disney Studios, said he is “pleased that we were able to reach a mutual agreement.”
“We appreciate your contributions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and look forward to working together on several future projects,” said Bergman.
The lawsuit said Johansson’s contract guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release, with its potential earnings tied to the film’s box office performance.
But as it has with other recent releases since the coronavirus pandemic began, Disney released the film simultaneously in theaters and through its Disney + streaming service for a $ 30 rental.
The rhetoric of the lawsuit and Disney’s response suggested that a long and ugly battle was ahead.
“In the months leading up to this lawsuit, Ms. Johansson gave Disney and Marvel every opportunity to correct their mistake and fulfill Marvel’s promise,” the lawsuit says. “Disney intentionally induced Marvel to breach the Agreement, without justification, to prevent Ms. Johansson from realizing the full benefits of her deal with Marvel.”
Disney said at the time that the lawsuit “had no merit,” adding that it was “especially sad and distressing because of its callous disregard for the horrific and lingering global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Disney said the modified launch plan “significantly improved its ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $ 20 million it has received to date.”
Delayed more than a year due to COVID-19, “Black Widow” debuted in what was then the best pandemic of $ 80 million in North America and $ 78 million in international theaters on July 9. But theatrical gross revenue dropped dramatically after that. On its second launch weekend, the National Association of Theater Owners issued a rare statement criticizing the strategy.
Hybrid launch strategies reviewed occasionally have led to public discussions among stars, filmmakers, and financiers who are unhappy with the potential loss of revenue and their lack of voice in such strategies. But none were as big or as public as Johansson’s lawsuit.