Disney settles dispute with Scarlett Johansson over Black Widow salary

The Walt Disney Company and actor Scarlett Johansson have settled a legal dispute over the release of their Marvel superhero film Black Widow, they said jointly on Thursday.

The terms of the agreement between Disney and Johansson’s Periwinkle Entertainment Company were not disclosed. Johansson, 36, sued Disney in July, accusing the entertainment giant of breaching its contract when the company offered the film on its subscription streaming service Disney+, at the same time the film was playing in theaters.

Her complaint, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, argued that the dual-release strategy for Black Widow reduced her compensation, which she said had to be based exclusively on box office receipts in theaters.

Disney protested at the time that the lawsuit was of no merit and insisted that the studio had complied with the terms of Johansson’s contract. The company then also said that Johansson’s lawsuit demonstrated a “disgusting disregard” for the risks to film audiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Black Widow, which debuted in theaters on July 9 and charged $30 on Disney+, has raked in more than $378 million in theater receipts worldwide, according to film tracking service Box Office Mojo. Disney has said that the feature generated approximately $60 million through streaming purchases in the first 20 days of release.

Johansson starred as a Russian assassin-turned-Avenger superhero, a role she has played in nine Marvel films. “I am very pleased that we have been able to reach a mutual settlement with Scarlett Johansson regarding Black Widow,” Alan Bergman, content chairman of Disney Studios, said in a statement on Thursday. He said the company is looking forward to working with Johansson on “many projects to come”, including previously reported plans to produce and star in a film based on Disney’s Tower of Terror theme park ride.

Johansson said she is also pleased to have settled her differences with the company and looks forward to further collaboration. “I am extremely proud of the work we have done together over the years and have thoroughly enjoyed my constructive relationship with the team,” his statement said.

Johansson topped Forbes magazine’s list of the world’s highest-paid actresses in 2018 and 2019, with pre-tax income reported to total $56 million from June of 2018 to June of 2019.


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