Three months after the conflict began, Scarlett Johansson and Disney have reached a settlement. A million-dollar one according to early indications and Deadline sources. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Variety and The New York Times, the controversy over the premiere of ‘Black Widow’ in theaters and on the Disney+ streaming channel simultaneously comes to fruition.
Black Widow was Disney’s hope. and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After months of delays, cancellations and changes in strategy, the film dedicated to the character of Black Widow had a release date. It was the first with which Disney took a risk in theaters after months of pandemic and the title starring Scarlet Johansson was its best asset. However, and after the failure of Tenet just a year earlier, the company was not willing to risk the potential of one of its most anticipated titles. Disney decided, then, to release also on its successful streaming platform. -under the additional payment formula- at the same time as in the cinemas. It was a good strategy: both in theaters and on the platform, Johansson’s Black Widow got some good results considering the context. of the pandemic and the cinema at the time.
Black Widow grossed about $80 million in its opening weekend. Not much for Marvel, but a lot for context. In August, Disney posted that the film had grossed $125 million on Disney+ and $367 million at the box office.
A forward-looking deal with a lot of interests behind it
And despite the data and the attempt to save the film, the actress’ lawyers argued that Disney’s decision was made unilaterally. It did not comply with what was signed in the contract which prevented the title from being released on both platforms simultaneously. In addition, Scarlett Johansson’s income was based on the result of Black Widow at the box office without taking into account, therefore, what was perceived in the streaming version of Disney+. The $20 million that the actress received for her role did not correspond to reality since the simultaneous release could have meant a loss of around $50 million in the actress’s feed -a figure that the lawyers demanded from the studio in the lawsuit-.
Now, this issue is resolved with the payment of a cool million to Scarlett Johansson. As well as keeping the door open to future collaborations of the actress with one of the largest film companies in Hollywood. In fact, on the table is still the project of The Dark Tower, in this case of the Disney factory, in which the actress would be collaborating. Reaching an agreement was interesting for both parties. Not only for the Marvel Cinematic Universe in an eventual attempt to rescue Black Widow in one of its current multiverses -possibility that nobody rules out-, but also for the rest of future collaborations that could be signed with the popular actress.
On the other hand, Johansson’s lawsuit has not fallen on deaf ears, nor has it only benefited the actress. Elisabeth Olsen, star of WandaVision, has already come out in support of her co-star. She also added, her concern about the trend of favoring streaming platforms over cinema.. Emma Stone, star of Cruella, another Disney hit, was also in favour of Johansson and even considered a similar move. Like Black Widow, Cruella was another of the simultaneous releases forced by the coronavirus health crisis.