Just days after the first court hearing in Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow profits mega-bite lawsuit on Disney was pushed back to March 2022, the Oscar nominee and the House of Mouse have made peace and it was pricey for the latter.
“I am happy to have resolved our differences with Disney,” said Johansson in a statement released Thursday. ” 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 in years to come.”
Unlike in their vitriolic filings and their shaming PR statements over the past few, Marvel-owner Disney had nothing but love today for the actor who brought Natasha Romanoff to life for them in nearly 10 separate films.
I’m very pleased that we have been able to come to a mutual agreement with Scarlett Johansson regarding Black Widow, said Alan Bergman, Chairman, Disney Studios Content. “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.”
Neither side gave any indication of how much money was involved in the settlement, but the deal ran to more than $40 million, an individual close to the matter tells me. Funds that not will be paid by Disney in a single lump sum, if you pick up the creative accounting I’m putting down.
In case you forgot, Black Widow came out in cinemas across a Delta variant suffering America and on Disney+ for a premium fee on July 9
With the Covid-19 pandemic, a shift to hybrid releases and the sentimentality free economics of back-end payouts at the heart of Johansson’s July 29 filed suit, the actor declared that she was promised “a release that is exclusive to movie theatres” on the much delayed Cate Shortland directed film and Disney broke their word.
Then things got real messy.
Disney incurred the wrath of many, including Johansson’s CAA mainman Bryan Lourd, for not only telling the world that the actor got paid $20 million upfront for the film, but also tried to make their long time collaborator look out and out cruel for standing up for herself. “The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said a Disney spokesperson hours after Johansson’s suit became public.
Then, as the toxic PR blast radius continued to spread, late on August 20, Disney’s outside counsel Daniel Petrocelli, Leah Godesky and Tim Heafner of O’Melveny & Myers LLP put the company’ response in the Los Angles Superior Court docket. Seeking to enforce the “confidential, binding arbitration” aspects of Black Widow star and executive producer Johansson’s contract, the trio doubled down on the actor and her shingle. “In a futile effort to evade this unavoidable result (and generate publicity through a public filing), Periwinkle excluded Marvel as a party to this lawsuit––substituting instead its parent company Disney under contract-interference theories,” they said of the mega-star plaintiff. “But longstanding principles do not permit such gamesmanship.”
Even with terms like “misogynistic attack” fired off by the actor’s lawyer main lawyer John Berlinski back at Disney and the revealing of Johansson’s Black Widow pay check by Disney in the days and hours following the filing of the explosive suit, both sides were clearly looking for a solution ASAP – especially as the Bob Chapek-led media giant faced the prospect of extensive discovery in the legal face.
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