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Scarlett Johansson and Walt Disney Co reach deal over streaming lawsuit

Written by on 01/10/2021

Scarlett Johansson and Walt Disney Co have reached a settlement in her lawsuit over the streaming of Black Widow.

The actress had accused the company of breaching her contract when it offered the film on its streaming service at the same time as it was released in theatres.

Johansson’s earnings are based partly on the Marvel film’s box office takings and, when filing the lawsuit in July, she said the movie had been intended for initial release exclusively in cinemas.

The dual release resulted in her earning less than she would have otherwise, she had argued.

The terms of the deal between Johansson and Disney were not revealed.

Johansson said in a statement that she was “happy” to have “resolved our differences with Disney”, adding: “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.”

More on Scarlett Johansson

Alan Bergman, chairman of Disney Studios Content, said he was “pleased” to have reached a “mutual agreement”.

Actress Scarlett Johansson is suing Walt Disney Studios over the streaming release of "Black Widow". Pic: zz/STRF/STAR MAX/IPx/AP
Image: Actress Scarlett Johansson has reached a deal with Disney over the streaming release of Black Widow. Pic: zz/STRF/STAR MAX/IPx/AP

“We appreciate her contributions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and look forward to working together on a number of upcoming projects,” he said.

Johansson had said in her lawsuit that Disney released the film on its streaming platform at the same time as in cinemas because it wanted to increase subscriber numbers, something she described as a “proven way to boost Disney’s stock price”.

But Disney had said the lawsuit had “no merit whatsoever”, adding that it was “especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Many companies were forced to release films on streaming services because a lot of cinemas were closed as part of global efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Black Widow, the story of the Russian assassin turned Avenger, earned $80m (£59m) in US and Canadian box offices on its debut weekend in July and $78m (£57m) elsewhere. It also earned $60m (£44m) through Disney+.

Johansson, who topped the Forbes magazine list of the world’s highest-paid actress in 2018 and 2019, has played the character in nine Marvel films.

 Sky News

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