Scarlett Johansson and Disney Settle ‘Black Widow’ Lawsuit
The lawsuit between Disney and Scarlett Johansson over the release of Black Widow is over. The two sides have reportedly settled their dispute, which threatened to affect the way A-list stars were compensated over their blockbuster roles.
The suit stemmed from the way Disney released Johansson’s Black Widow. Her complaint alleged that she was denied millions of dollars in salary by Disney’s decision to release the film simultaneously in theaters and on Disney’s Disney+ streaming service. In her suit, Johnsson’s attorneys claimed that her “contract was breached when the media giant released the film on its Disney+ streaming service at the same time as its theatrical debut and that “Disney intentionally induced Marvel’s breach of the agreement”, without justification, in order to prevent Ms. Johansson from realizing the full benefit of her bargain with Marvel.”
Disney responded with a press release of their own, claiming it had “fully complied with Ms. Johansson’s contract” and insisting that “the release of Black Widow on Disney+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date.” They also said Johansson’s lawsuit is “sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In other words, the suit had the potential to get very ugly — but now it has been settled. In a statement (via THR), Johansson said:
I am happy to have resolved our differences with Disney. 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.
When Johansson filed the suit, I always assumed the outcome was going to be a settlement, at least until Disney released that comment revealing Johansson’s salary and claiming she showed “callous disregard” for the pandemic. Since the suit, numerous actors (including a few members of the MCU, like Elizabeth Olsen) have spoken out in support of Johansson. There was some speculation that other actors may file similar lawsuits against Disney or other studios who’ve released films day-and-date on streaming and theaters. So far, none have materialized.
As for Johansson, she’s done playing Black Widow, but her upcoming projects with Disney include a film based on the theme park attraction Tower of Terror.