Scarlett Johansson and Disney have settled the acrimonious lawsuit that has turned Hollywood upside down since first being filed in July, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Terms were not disclosed.
The suit was part of a breach of contract lawsuit over the decision to release Black Widow simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+. Johansson alleged that the decision hurt her salary, which was said to be based in large part on the earnings from the film. The lawsuit asked for more than $50 million in damages, arguing that Disney pressured Marvel to release it on the streaming service in order to appease investors.
The lawsuit touched off a major public relations war that grew to engulf much of Hollywood. The fallout reportedly affected negotiations with Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, directors of some of the most popular MCU properties, who worried about how future movies would be released and how they would make money. Marvel boss Kevin Feige was said to be “angry and embarrassed” over the lawsuit.
Johansson’s lawsuit has also become something of an inflection point in the ongoing discussion of whether movies should be given an exclusive theatrical release window in the COVID-19 era. The global pandemic has had a major impact on the movie business, depressing earnings across the board and forcing studios to make hard decisions across the board. Johansson’s lawsuit forced a confrontation that had already been brewing between studios and actors.
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Black Widow was a comparative success by pandemic box office standards, earning some $379 million worldwide. According to Disney, it also earned another $60 million in purchases through Disney+ Premiere. It was the Disney’s boast about streaming earnings that reportedly angered Johansson, encouraging her to move forward with the lawsuit that she had been mulling for “several months,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Disney has since returned to a 45-day theatrical window with films like Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings, but it has been blunt about its intentions to release its films however it pleases. While this lawsuit is over, the battle over simultaneous releases on streaming services has undoubtedly just begun.
Kat Bailey is a Senior News Editor at IGN.