Scarlett Johansson and Disney settled a breach of contract lawsuit over the star Black widow payday, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“I am happy to have resolved our differences with Disney,” said Johansson. “I am incredibly proud of the work we have done together over the years and have greatly enjoyed my creative relationship with the team. I look forward to continuing our collaboration in the years to come. “
Disney Studios President Alan Bergman added: “I am very pleased that we were able to reach a mutual agreement with Scarlett Johansson regarding Black widow. We appreciate your contributions to the Wonderful Cinematic Universe and we look forward to working together on a number of upcoming projects, including Disney’s. Tower of Terror. “
The explosive lawsuit, filed by the actress in July in Los Angeles Superior Court, claimed the studio sacrificed the movie’s box office potential to grow its fledgling Disney + streaming service. Disney responded that Johansson was paid $ 20 million for the film.
The deal ends a back-and-forth public relations battle that pitted the CAA-represented star against the studio for the past two months and was poised to have dramatic implications for major Hollywood studios. Johansson’s cause received support in the industry as talent and executives, including Jamie Lee Curtis, Marvel’s WandaVision star Elizabeth Olsen and mogul Jason Blum – spoke on her behalf.
At the time of the complaint, a Disney spokesperson said, in part, “The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing because of its callous disregard for the horrific and lingering global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.” CAA Co-Chair Bryan Lourd countered that Disney “blatantly and falsely accused Ms. Johansson of being insensitive to the global COVID pandemic, in an attempt to make her look like someone they and I know she is not.”
In his complaint, Johansson said that Marvel had been guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release when he signed his contract. She alleged that her contract was broken when the film simultaneously premiered on Disney +.
As the coronavirus pandemic raged in Hollywood for the past 18 months, Black widow it was one of many big budget movies, including Warner Bros. ‘ Wonder Woman and Disney Cruella and Jungle cruise It was simultaneously leaned into streaming and in theaters. But to date, Johansson is the only major movie star to sue. She claimed that Disney sacrificed Black widowbox office potential to grow your streaming service.
“Why would Disney give up hundreds of millions of dollars in box office revenue by releasing the film in theaters at a time when it knew the theatrical market was ‘weak’, instead of waiting a few months for it to be? will that market rebound? ” asked the complaint. “Based on information and belief, the decision to do so was made at least in part because Disney saw the opportunity to promote its flagship subscription service using Picture and Ms. Johansson, thereby attracting new paid monthly subscribers while retaining the existing companies and establishing Disney + as an essential service in an increasingly competitive market. “
Black widow, which has earned $ 379 million at the worldwide box office to date, debuted in theaters at the same time and on Disney + Premier Access for an additional $ 30. But in what executives at rival studios saw as a major miscalculation, Disney boasted on July 11 that Black widow made $ 60 million in purchases through Disney + ‘s Premier Access paywall, opening the door to a fierce showdown. After all, Johansson had been considering litigation for several months, says a source familiar with the lawsuit. As of the afternoon of July 28, he believed that Disney would make an offer and that he would not have to file a lawsuit. But Disney stayed in “Let’s keep talking” mode, adds the source. Johansson was particularly outraged by the announcement, which pleased Wall Street but not the talent and rep community.
According to the complaint, Disney’s move “not only increased the value of Disney +, but it also intentionally saved Marvel (and thus itself) what Marvel referred to as ‘very large box office bonuses’ that Marvel from otherwise I would have been obliged to pay Mrs. Johansson. “
Johansson vs. Disney it marked the latest iteration of a profit-sharing dispute that is all too common in Hollywood, with actors squabbling with studios over their back-end compensation or the definition of net profit. Very few of these battles seep to the surface because they are often resolved before lawyers get involved or the actor’s contract contains an arbitration provision in which the entire process remains confidential. (A source familiar with Johansson’s lawsuit says his contract has an arbitration provision, but his lawyers were willing to prove it.)
“The exception is when there is so much money involved or if there is a level of acrimony that has reached a point of no return, and people will stick to the principles,” says attorney James Sammataro. THR. “That statement from Disney confirmed the latter, but it’s still a shocking statement: painting someone as insensitive and playing the ‘You’re so out of touch’ card. You could probably make the same argument about Disney. ‘Yes. It has been generating millions, if not billions, during the pandemic. ‘
In the wake of Johansson’s lawsuit, more than a handful of other A-listers were said to be considering filing similar lawsuits. (Jungle cruise star Dwayne Johnson was not one of them since he has a different compensation structure than Johansson). But that has yet to materialize. CruellaEmma Stone closed a deal two weeks after Johansson’s lawsuit to star in a sequel to Disney’s live-action film, offering a sign that Disney was working to secure talent amid the charged atmosphere.
While Disney has faced criticism for its handling of talent deals during the pandemic, WarnerMedia took a different approach by proactively distributing up to $ 200 million to pay for a long list of stars whose Warner Bros. films are simultaneously released in theaters. and on his HBO. Max, including Patty Jenkins, Gal Gadot, and Will Smith.
Johansson is represented by Kasowitz’s partner, John Berlinski, while Daniel Petrocelli has been representing Disney.