After much public mud-slinging and fingers of blame and accusation being pointed in many directions, Disney and Scarlett Johansson finally resolved their issues, with the actress’ breach of contract lawsuit surrounding the decision to send Black Widow to Disney Plus Premier Access without altering the terms of her deal having been settled.
Reports indicate that the two-time Academy Award nominee could have pocketed as much as $40 million as a result, on top of the $20 million upfront salary the Mouse House’s legal team attempted to leverage against her in an effort to paint the star as greedy.
According to industry insider and former editor of The Hollywood Reporter Matthew Belloni, the success of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings reportedly had a major impact on the studio finally coming to its senses and offering Johansson a financial settlement in line with what her team had been expecting to earn had Black Widow played in theaters only.
“It didn’t help Disney’s overall cause that Shang-Chi, a ‘lesser’ Marvel title starring a largely unknown actor that was released over the usually dormant Labor Day weekend, has stormed past Black Widow at the box office. The difference? Shang-Chi was a theatrical exclusive, of course. So that’s a point for Johansson.”
That makes a great deal of sense, when Shang-Chi has been blowing past any and all box office expectations since releasing a month ago, and it usurped Black Widow at the weekend to reach $386 million globally. Johansson had a decade of Marvel Cinematic Universe exposure under her belt, so it’s fair to suggest that her long-awaited solo outing would have flown much higher had it not been awarded a hybrid release.