Earlier last week, Scarlett Johansson created quite a stir when she filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against The Walt Disney Company and Marvel over Black Widow’s streaming release on Disney+. The actress is citing breach of contract because the Marvel Studios film had been guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release when she signed her contract. Given that Johansson’s salary was contingent on the box office success of the film, her profit could be hindered by the film’s simultaneous release on Disney+.
Disney quickly fired back with a statement saying that the lawsuit had “no merit whatsoever” and called it “sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Next up, it was reported that Emma Stone is considering filing her own lawsuit against Disney over Cruella’s hybrid release. The film premiered in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access simultaneously on May 28th. While the film reportedly made $26.5 million in its four-day start and went on to earn $225 million at the box office, many speculated that the Disney+ release cut into those numbers.Former THR Editor Matt Belloni reported that Emma Stone was considering filing a similar suit to Johansson’s in his newsletter What I’m Hearing…. Belloni wrote, “Emma Stone, star of Cruella, is said to be weighing her options.”
The report also lists Jungle Cruise star Emily Blunt as another potentially disgruntled employee.
It was starting to look like the floodgates could be opening with Dwayne Johnson being another star that could potential take legal action against Disney due to Jungle Cruise’s hybrid release. However, according to Deadline, neither Johnson nor his production company Seven Bucks Productions, which co-produced Jungle Cruise, have any intentions of suing Disney over a loss of earning. In fact, it is claimed that Johnson is supportive of the decision to put the movie on Disney+ Premier Access in order to maximize viewership to overseas audiences.
Both Disney and Dwayne Johnson are hoping to create a franchise from Jungle Cruise, potentially with multiple movies in the future. It’s understandable that both parties will want to maintain a strong relationship.