DISNEY and SCARLETT JOHANSSON SETTLE on “BLACK WIDOW” Contract DISPUTE

For all intents and purposes, Scarlett Johansson’s time as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has passed. Her character Natasha Romanov, aka the Black Widow, was killed off in 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame.” True, she still got a solo movie that premiered this year, but as a prequel that does not change her role’s fate. What did happen was that Johansson took Marvel Studios to court last July for breach of contract, slamming their simultaneous streaming release of “Black Widow” on Disney+ rather than the exclusive box-office premiere stipulated in her contract. The legal battle has been simmering for months. Now suddenly, it was just over.

The Hollywood Reporter has it that the Scarlett Johansson lawsuit against Marvel Studios’ parent company Disney for breach of contract came to an anticlimactic conclusion. In separate statements the former MCU cast member and Disney announced that their respective camps have arrived at a settlement, the details of which were kept classified. “I am happy to have resolved our differences with Disney,” Johansson says, adding that she was proud of her work with Marvel on the MCU films. Disney Studios chairman Alan Bergman concurs, stating their appreciation for the actress’ talents and looking forward to working with her in future projects outside of Marvel productions.

Johansson’s suit against Disney was sparked by the company’s boast that “Black Widow,” which released in cinemas to a $378-million box office take, also earned $60 million from its simultaneous streaming premiere on Disney+. The actress asserted that it violated her contract for the film, which guaranteed her a higher salary the more it earned in theaters. Disney countered that they paid Scarlett $20 million, and their refusal to consider her side eventually led to the legal battle. The MCU star gained support from the acting quarter of the film industry to push her suit.

Disney explains that the simultaneous cinema-streaming release of movies was made necessary due to the changing public-gathering regulations of the pandemic keeping most movie-houses closed anyway. Later this 2021 the media giant committed to giving their picture releases no less than 45 days in the theater before putting it on Disney+, but that they reserve the intent to change that as befits the current North American and global situation. While Scarlett Johansson may be done as Black Widow, she has been billed by Disney to star in their latest theme-park attraction big-screen adaptation, based on “Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror.”

Image courtesy of SyFy Wire

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