The legal battle between Disney and Scarlett Johansson is over.
Disney and Johansson have resolved their dispute over the lawsuit that the Oscar-winning actress filed against the entertainment giant in July. After two months of vitriolic filings and shaming PR statements from both parties, Disney and Johansson confirmed on Thursday that they had settled the matter out of court.
“I’m very pleased that we have been able to come to a mutual agreement with Scarlett Johansson regarding Black Widow,” Disney Studios Content 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.”
Johansson added: “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.”
The lawsuit accused Disney of breaching Johansson’s contract when it released her Marvel movie Black Widow on the streaming service Disney+ on July 9th ― the same day the film opened in U.S. theaters. According to the suit, Johansson agreed that her salary for Black Widow would be largely based on the film’s box-office earnings. But since the flick arrived on Disney+ on the same day it hit theaters, its ticket sales earnings are believed to have been affected significantly.
“To maximize these receipts, and thereby protect her financial interests, Ms. Johansson extracted a promise from Marvel that the release of the picture would be a ‘theatrical release,’” the suit claimed. “As Ms. Johansson, Disney, Marvel, and most everyone else in Hollywood knows, a ‘theatrical release’ is a release that is exclusive to movie theatres. Disney was well aware of this promise, but nonetheless directed Marvel to violate its pledge and instead release the picture on the Disney+ streaming service the very same day it was released in movie theatres.”
In response to the suit, Disney said that “there is no merit whatsoever” to Johansson’s filing, which the company called “especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
A rep for Disney reiterated that the firm “has fully complied with Ms. Johansson’s contract” before pointing out that the release of Black Widow on Disney+ has, in fact, “significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20 million” she initially received.
The terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but sources told Deadline that “the deal will run to more than $40 million.”
The legal spat between Disney and Johansson came at a pivotal moment in Hollywood as the industry faces questions about how audiences will consume entertainment and how those who create it will be paid for in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, Disney CEO Bob Chapek revealed at the Communacopia Conference earlier this month that the studio is resetting their talent deals in the wake of the Black Widow lawsuit.
With a production budget of $200 million, Black Widow grossed a total of $378 million at the worldwide box office.