Three months after Scarlett Johansson sued Disney over its streaming release of Black Widow, arguing she stood to lose millions of dollars because her salary was based on the box office performance of the film, the suit has now been settled, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, and The New York Times and others. Representatives for Johansson confirmed the settlement to The Verge as well.
While the terms of the settlement don’t appear to be public, Deadline cites a source saying that the deal was in the “tens of millions.” Both parties have paid lip service to continuing to work together: Johansson told The Hollywood Reporter that she was “happy to have resolved our differences with Disney,” and “look[s] forward to continuing our collaboration in years to come.”
“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,” wrote Disney Studios chairman Alan Bergman, according to THR.
When filing the lawsuit, the actress claimed that her contract with the film studio didn’t allow for films to be released on streaming the same day they came to theaters. Disney, however, released Black Widow day-and-date on Disney Plus (a practice that it’s now started to walk back on with a 45-day theater window). According to The Wall Street Journal, this move could have cost Johansson $50 million, as her salary was tied to the film’s box office performance — the argument goes that since people were able to see it at home, they didn’t pay for it in theaters.
During the lawsuit, Disney said that Johansson had been paid $20 million for her role in the film, and could earn more from its release on Disney Plus, where viewers had to pay $30 to watch it during its initial release. Box Office Mojo estimates that Black Widow brought in almost $379 million from its theater run. When attempting to negotiate with Disney, Johansson’s team reportedly based their numbers on an estimate that the film would’ve brought in $1.2 billion had it not been for the multiple COVID delays and eventual joint release on Disney Plus. That figure is similar to what other Marvel movies like Spider-Man: Far From Home and Captain Marvel are estimated to have earned from their pre-pandemic theater runs.
Other stars like Emma Stone have negotiated to be paid extra for films released during the pandemic, but Johansson said that her contract with Disney was signed in 2017, before it even announced its streaming service. WandaVision lead Elizabeth Olsen declared her support for Johansson’s suit to Vanity Fair, saying that she was worried about theaters going away. Others in the industry have expressed concern about how streaming services would affect actors’ paychecks, given the lack of transparency that can come with viewing numbers. It’s notable when a streaming service like Netflix publicly states how many accounts watch certain shows, because that’s not the norm.