Oct 1, 2021 - Economy

Scarlett Johansson and Disney settle lawsuit

A Black Widow movie poster

A billboard for Black Widow. Photo: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Disney and actress Scarlett Johansson settled a breach of contract lawsuit on Thursday, CNN Business reports, ending a months-long back-and-forth between the Hollywood star and the media giant.

Why it matters: The lawsuit could have had big implications for streaming services in the future. Actors are typically paid a cut of a film’s box office returns, and the shift to streaming has led to more of these types of disputes.

  • The terms of the agreement between Johansson and Disney were not disclosed, per CNN.

The big picture: Johansson filed the lawsuit against the Walt Disney Company in July, alleging that her contract was breached when "Black Widow" was released on the company's streaming service and in theaters at the same time, depressing box office turnout.

  • The actress claimed that she was guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release and her salary is largely based on the film's box office revenue.
  • The suit accuses Disney of releasing the movie on Disney+ in order to prevent Johansson from "realizing the full benefit of her bargain with Marvel."
  • Disney argued that they had complied fully with Johansson's contract and that there was "no merit whatsoever to this filing."

What they're saying: "I'm incredibly proud of the work we've done together over the years and have greatly enjoyed my creative relationship with the team," Johansson said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.

  • "I look forward to continuing our collaboration in years to come," Johansson added.
  • “I’m very pleased that we have been able to come to a mutual agreement with Scarlett Johansson regarding ‘Black Widow',” Disney Studios chairman Alan Bergman said in a statement. "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.”
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