It seems that Scarlett Johansson asked for a significant sum of money when she was attempting to renegotiate her contract with Disney over Black Widow. Unfortunately, Disney didn’t appear to be interested in any negotiations whatsoever.
A new report from The Wall Street Journal, with IGN, GameSpot, and numerous other sources also reporting, revealed just how much money Scarlett Johansson asked Disney for back when everything started to go wrong. For some background info: Disney released Black Widow in both theaters and Disney+ back on July 9, 2021. This violated Disney’s contract with Johansson, which said that the film would be a theater-only release. Johansson reached out to Disney to renegotiate said contract.
Turns out, Scarlett Johansson wanted a total of $100 million USD as a starting point for said renegotiations. Her legal team came up with that sum by using $20 million as her starting salary, with the additional to make up for the Disney+ release, Bear in mind that Johansson’s team were working off of an estimate that Black Widow would’ve made $1.2 billion USD at the box office before COVID-19. $100 million represents less than a tenth of that estimated sum, so it seems like a fairly reasonable thing to ask. On top of that, this was only the “starting point” in the negotiations. Johansson and her team fully expected for Disney to talk it down a bit.
All in all, it seems like a reasonable renegotiation from Scarlett Johansson. Too bad Disney didn’t think so. Heck, they apparently never even got back to her on that.
Disney: Shooting Themselves In The Foot Over Black Widow
Yeah, apparently Disney’s idea of negotiating with the star of one of their biggest films was to ignore her and hope she goes away. Well, as we all know by now, Scarlett Johansson does not just go away. She comes back with a lawsuit. Hey, if reason won’t work, then the courts will have to do.
Funnily enough, The Wall Street Journal‘s report also gives a reason for Disney’s action, or rather inaction, here. Apparently, one reason for that was that no one at Disney could agree on which of their execs would actually do the negotiations. Disney CEO Bob Chapek was busy dealing with COVID-19-related problems, so he allegedly passed the buck to people under him like Alan Bergman and Kareem Daniel. The report specifically named those individuals as those who “didn’t return calls or emails from the Johansson team or engage in serious talks”. All in all, it looks like Disney didn’t take Scarlett Johansson and her complaints seriously. Not until she slapped them with a lawsuit. Some people just won’t take a hint, will they?
The Wall Street Journal made a new report explaining more of the background behind Scarlett Johansson and her lawsuit against Disney. Apparently, she made some pretty reasonable requests of Disney over their breach of contract on Black Widow. Disney decided to ignore those requests and hoped that she’d go away. As we all know by now, she didn’t. She came back with a lawsuit to make Disney listen. Some companies won’t take a hint until they get into court.