Scarlett Johansson

“It had a bigger impact”: Scarlett Johansson’s Rumored $40M Payout for Suing Disney Wasn’t the Only Takeaway from Controversial Black Widow Lawsuit

Scarlett Johansson was praised by many for standing up for herself after feeling hard done by Disney.

SUMMARY

  • Scarlett Johansson’s portrayal of Russian assassin Natasha Romanoff in Iron Man 2 in 2010 kick-started a very successful partnership between the actress and Disney, as she went on to become a mainstay in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • In 2021, it seemed that the relationship had become more special than ever, as Disney partnered with Johansson for a stand-alone movie on her character, titled Black Widow.
  • Things took a turn for the worse after its release, leading to a stunning lawsuit.
  • However, the end result yielded some encouraging takeaways for not just Johansson but the wider industry.

Scarlett Johansson’s portrayal of Russian assassin Natasha Romanoff in Iron Man 2 in 2010 kick-started a very successful partnership between the actress and Disney, as she went on to become a mainstay in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for more than a decade, featuring as one of the key members of the Avengers in a number of Marvel Studios backed movies.

Black Widow
Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson.

In 2021, it seemed that the relationship had become more special than ever, as Disney partnered with Johansson for a stand-alone movie on her character, titled Black Widow. Things took a turn for the worse after its release, leading to a stunning lawsuit. However, the end result yielded some encouraging takeaways for not just Johansson but the wider industry.

Why Scarlett Johansson’s Lawsuit Against Disney Meant More Than Just Her $40M Payout

Scarlett Johansson started MCU’s Multiverse Saga by leading the first movie of Phase Four, Black Widow, wherein Natasha Romanoff is forced to confront her dark past when a conspiracy involving her old handler arises.

Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow.

However, what happened on the reel was less dramatic than events in real life, as Johansson’s team filed a lawsuit against Disney in Los Angeles Superior Court after their disappointment with the film’s release strategy.

As per a report in The Hollywood Reporter, the suit claimed “that the studio sacrificed the film’s box office potential in order to grow its fledgling Disney+ streaming service. Disney countered that Johansson was paid $20 million for the film.” Johansson’s payment was supposedly based on the film’s box office performance.

A few months later, Johansson and Disney settled the suit, and the Jojo Rabbit actress reportedly took home more than $40 million. The more impressive aspect of this battle was her decision to take on the most powerful entity in Hollywood, which led to support from many.

“I couldn’t even walk through a restaurant without somebody saying, ‘Good for you. Stand up for yourself,’” Johansson told Variety. “I could see that it had a bigger impact. I got support from strangers that have no skin in the game at all.”

As the streaming era started to take over Hollywood and impact the earnings of actors, writers, and other crucial behind-the-scenes individuals by minimizing their shares in different ways (residuals and box-office profits), Johansson showed it is possible to fight deep-pocketed corporations for a fair share.

Are Scarlett Johansson and Disney Still Working Together After the Lawsuit?

Interestingly, Johansson’s dispute didn’t impact her relationship with the studio, as she is linked with the movie adaptation of Tower of Terror theme park attraction. Disney’s classic theme park attraction was also the subject of the 1997 horror television film, Tower of Terror. 

Scarlett Johansson in Black Widow
Scarlett Johansson in Black Widow.

Next Goal Wins filmmaker Taika Waititi will be directing the movie featuring Johansson in the lead role.

Further, as per Marvel Studios Director of Visual Development Andy Park (via CBR), Thunderbolts will act as a sequel to Black Widow. This could pave the way for Natasha’s return to the MCU, though nothing has been announced from Disney on that front.

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