Actress Scarlett Johansson Settles Lawsuit With Disney After Claiming Breach of Contract

By Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.
October 1, 2021 Updated: October 1, 2021

Actress Scarlett Johansson, star of the Marvel superhero movie “Black Widow,” has settled her lawsuit against Walt Disney after alleging that the company breached her contract when it released the movie in theatres while simultaneously streaming it on Disney+.

As of yet, details regarding the final outcome of the lawsuit—including whether there was any financial compensation—have not been provided but both Disney and Johansson have released statements confirming the news.

“I am happy to have resolved our differences with Disney. 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,” Johansson said in her statement on Thursday.

Alan Bergman, the chairman of Disney Studios Content, also released a statement on Twitter in which he shared his relief that the actress and Walt Disney were able to reach a mutual agreement.

“I’m very pleased that we have been able to come to a mutual agreement with Scarlett Johansson regarding Black Widow. 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,” Bergman said.

Johansson took action against the Walt Disney Company back in July when she accused them of breaching her contract by offering the new Marvel movie via streaming while also playing it in theaters.

The lawsuit did not specify the amount of compensation Johansson sought to be rewarded for alleged damages but Johansson argued that releasing the movie via two separate mediums had reduced her compensation.

The actress claimed that the film was supposed to run exclusively in cinemas, on which her salary was party based.

At the time, Disney said there was “no merit” to the lawsuit and that they had not breached the actress’s contract. Disney also claimed that the release of the movie on its streaming platform had “significantly enhanced her (Johansson’s) ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20 million she has received to date.”

After more than a year of being delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Black Widow debuted on July 9 in theaters while Disney+ customers were able to stream it for $30.

In her lawsuit, Johansson claimed that Disney had purposely steered its customers towards Disney+, “where it could keep the revenues for itself while simultaneously growing the Disney+ subscriber base, a proven way to boost Disney’s stock price.”

“It’s no secret that Disney is releasing films like Black Widow directly onto Disney+ to increase subscribers and thereby boost the company’s stock price and that it’s hiding behind COVID-19 as a pretext to do so,” John Berlinski, attorney for Johansson, said at the time.

Disney added that Johansson’s lawsuit demonstrated a “callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic” and had no merit.

Berlinski noted that he expects more Hollywood stars to challenge Disney going forward.

“This will surely not be the last case where Hollywood talent stands up to Disney and makes it clear that, whatever the company may pretend, it has a legal obligation to honor its contracts,” he said at the time.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.