Scarlett Johansson, Disney Settle Lawsuit Over 'Black Widow' Release

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Scarlett Johansson, Disney Settle Lawsuit Over 'Black Widow' Release
Johansson filed a lawsuit against the company, saying the streaming release of the movie breached her contracts and cut her earnings.

Scarlett Johansson and the Walt Disney Co. on Thursday settled her lawsuit over the streaming release of "Black Widow," bringing a swift end to what had begun as the first major fight between a studio and star over recent changes in rollout plans for films.

Johansson filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court two months ago, saying the streaming release of the Marvel movie breached her contract and deprived her of potential earnings.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the two sides released a joint statement in which they pledged to continue working together.

"I am happy to have resolved our differences with Disney," said Johansson, who has played Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, in nine movies going back to 2010's "Iron Man 2." "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."

Alan Bergman, chairman of Disney Studios Content, said he is "pleased that we have been able to come to a mutual agreement."

The lawsuit said Johansson's contract guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release, with her potential earnings tied to the box office performance of the film.

But as it has with other recent releases since the coronavirus pandemic began, Disney released the film simultaneously in theaters and through its streaming service Disney+ for a $30 rental.

Disney said the changed release plan "significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date."

Delayed more than a year because of COVID-19, "Black Widow" debuted to what was then a pandemic-best of $80 million in North America and $78 million from international theaters on July 9. But theatrical grosses declined sharply after that. In its second weekend in release, the National Association of Theater Owners issued a rare statement criticizing the strategy.

Revised hybrid release strategies have occasionally led to public spats between stars, filmmakers and financiers who are unhappy with potential lost revenues and their lack of say in such strategies. But none was as big or as public as Johansson's lawsuit.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.