Scarlett Johansson was awarded the American Cinematheque Award at the Beverly Hilton earlier this week. The award honors artists in the industry who are fully engaged in their work and are committed to making a significant contribution to the art of motion pictures. It only seems appropriate that the Black Widow star and producer would receive this award for her 30-years in the business. While at the event, The Hollywood Reporter spoke with Johansson and asked her about the lawsuit and the recent settlement.
The breach of contract suit, which was filed back in July shortly after the film's release, claimed that Johansson's contract with Disney guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release of Black Widow, with her salary depending on how well the movie performed at the box office. The film did a moderate opening weekend, grossing $80 million domestically and $78 million overseas, the best number the industry had seen in over a year thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the film then experience the MCU's worst dropoff in its second week of being released, dropping 67%, as the film was on Disney+ Premier Access.
From the moment the lawsuit was filed, things got ugly as reps from Disney slung accusations of Johansson's "callous disregard" for the COVID-19 pandemic. Adding, "Disney has fully complied with Ms. Johansson's contract and furthermore, the release of Black Widow on Disney+ Premier Access enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date."
After two months of contentious back and forth press releases, both parties were able to come to an agreement. Johansson said to THR after receiving her award: "I feel mostly very fortunate that nobody will have to go through what I went through and that it’s made, I think, a positive impact in the industry and hopefully for artists and creatives’ lives and livelihood.” She went on to add that she was hopeful that fighting for the proper compensation would allow for a wider conversation about the talent's deal within the streaming war; hoping that her suit would have a long-lasting impact, saying, “It’s an evolving time where there’s this huge sea change happening, and as my daughter [Rose] told me the other day, you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs.”
While the terms of the settlement were not disclosed, it does seem to be amicable enough to allow Johansson to continue working with Disney, as she is teaming up with the studio for The Tower of Terror project based on the ride of the same name. Johansson told THR that she was "already in the thick of it" on Terror and other Disney projects, including a top-secret Marvel project for which she will produce. Marvel President Kevin Feige, who was there to honor the actress, teased that they have partnered on "another non-Black Widow-related top-secret Marvel Studio project."
Black Widow is now available on Disney+ without Premier Access. The Tower of Terror does not currently have a release date.
The Dexter Fletcher-directed project is described as a "romantic action adventure."
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