Scarlett Johansson launched a lawsuit against Disney this year, alleging that Disney breached her contract by releasing “Black Widow,” a Marvel film starring the actress, on Disney+ on the same day it was released in theaters.
The actress’s July 29 lawsuit claimed that Disney had promised in a 2019 email that her film deal was based on a traditional theatrical release and that any change of plans would be discussed with Johansson. However, when Black Widow was released on July 9 viewers had the option of either seeing it in theaters or purchasing the movie on the studio’s streaming platform, Disney+, for a $30 premium. This decision was taken in line in light of public health concerns, which the studios have taken for several major film releases during the pandemic.
In breaching her contract, Johansson’s suit alleged, the studio “successfully pulled millions of fans away from the theaters and toward its Disney+ streaming service.” On the other hand, Disney responded to the lawsuit by alleging that Johansson was being careless of the pandemic.
A spokesperson said at the time, “The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
All said and done, the breach of contract lawsuit has now been settled, according to The Hollywood Reporter, but the terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“I am happy to have resolved our differences with Disney,” said Johansson in a statement. “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.”
Disney Studios chairman Alan Bergman commented as well, stating, “I’m very pleased that we have been able to come to a mutual agreement with Scarlett Johansson regarding Black Widow. We appreciate her contributions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and look forward to working together on a number of upcoming projects.”
Black Widow grossed $80 million domestically at theaters on its opening weekend in July, while also pulling in $60 million on Disney’s streaming service.
Johansson was paid $20 million for her role in the film, but according to her, this deal was signed exclusively for theatrical release. She believes they decided to release Black Widow to promote their streaming service, in breach of that contract, saying in her complaint, “Disney saw the opportunity to promote its flagship subscription service using the Picture and Ms. Johansson, thereby attracting new paying monthly subscribers, retaining existing ones, and establishing Disney+ as a must-have service in an increasingly competitive marketplace.”