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Scarlett Johansson and Disney settle on the Black Widow dispute

Disney Studios and Scarlett Johansson settle the ‘Black Widow’ dispute

Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson and Disney Studios have announced that they reached a settlement over the actress’ lawsuit against the company, for breach of contract for streaming her film ‘Black Widow’ at the same time as its theatre release.

In the lawsuit, Johansson was claiming compensation of 50 million dollars from the studio, for lost bonuses.

The action against Disney’s simultaneous release was also supported by the National Association of Theatre Owners, representing the main cinema trade organization, which was also keen on maintaining the previous release status-quo, as the simultaneous release increased Disney’s share to the expense of the cinemas. 

Black Widow’s premier was originally set for May 1, 2020 but pandemic caused several cancelations until Disney decided to release it simultaneously in theaters and via Premier Access on Disney Plus on July 9, at a price of $30. 

In its opening weekend the movie made $80 million in cinemas which was very low for Marvel standards, but pretty good considering the pandemic. 

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

Disney Studios, via their Chairman of Content, also declared they ‘were pleased to come to a mutual agreement’. 

The settlement of this particular dispute though and the changes driven by the pandemic probably means that both studios and actors will change the way they approach contractual terms around a film’s distribution. 

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