Cruella star Emma Stone ‘weighs options’ as actors eye Scarlett Johansson’s Disney row


Cruella star Emma Stone is said to be ‘weighing her options’ while Emily Blunt is reportedly keeping a close eye on Jungle Cruise figures, as other actors are expected to join Scarlett Johansson in her pay row with Disney.   

Speculation is mounting that Johansson’s war with Disney marks only the beginning of stars pushing back against film companies over alleged loss of earnings. 

Johansson, 36, filed her lawsuit against Disney Thursday, claiming she lost out on earnings as a result of Black Widow being released on streaming service Disney+ at the same time as its debut in theaters.

The Hollywood star had struck a deal with the company that a portion of her pay would come from backend box office sales when the film debuted.

Since then, Gerard Butler filed his own lawsuit on Friday against Nu Image/Millennium Films claiming he is owed at least $10million for the 2013 action film Olympus Has Fallen.

Cruella star Emma Stone (pictured in the film) is said to be 'weighing her options' as other actors are expected to join Scarlett Johansson in her pay row with Disney

Cruella star Emma Stone (pictured in the film) is said to be ‘weighing her options’ as other actors are expected to join Scarlett Johansson in her pay row with Disney

Former editor of the Hollywood Reporter and entertainment lawyer Matt Belloni revealed in his blog that Stone, 32, could be the next star to take action against Disney. 

Stone played the lead in the May 2021 101 Dalmations live action-remake Cruella. 

Like Black Widow, the movie was released on Disney+ at the same time as it hit theaters across the US. Stone also has an agreement with Disney to earn royalties on box office sales.

Belloni said Stone is currently watching the numbers for Cruella before she decides whether to also seek lost earnings. 

Blunt, 38, is also mulling action over the release of Disney film Jungle Cruise this weekend, wrote Belloni.  

Blunt had already objected to Paramount’s decision to release her film A Quiet Place Part II to streaming earlier this summer.

A Quiet Place Part II was first released in cinemas on May 28 before going to streaming on Paramount+ 45 days later on July 12.

This was earlier than the typical time of around 90 days before the pandemic and came as theaters across the US had already reopened again. 

Belloni indicated that other actors are likely to also follow suit, writing that ‘the floodgates might be opening.’  

‘There is an unusually high amount of cheering going on today in the talent community, which indicates these issues aren’t going away anytime soon. Disney is notoriously difficult to deal with, and has become even more so under [Disney CEO Bob] Chapek,’ he wrote.  

One Hollywood talent agent echoed this viewpoint telling Variety that a lot of Hollywood has been ‘cheering’ Johansson on this week.

Emily Blunt, 38, is also said to be mulling action over the release of Disney film Jungle Cruise this weekend (pictured Blunt with Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson in the film)

Emily Blunt, 38, is also said to be mulling action over the release of Disney film Jungle Cruise this weekend (pictured Blunt with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson in the film)

‘A lot of other actors are cheering for Scarlett and rooting her on,’ the agent said. 

‘She has a lot of power and that makes this a visible conversation that puts Disney on the spot. By doing all of this in public, she might be able to change the rulebook.’     

On Friday, Butler’s lawsuit was filed, claiming he is owed at least $10million for Olympus Has Fallen.

Butler claims box office receipts failed to mention that $8million had gone to its own executives. 

The film went on to gross $170 million worldwide, spawning two equally successful sequels London Has Fallen and Angel Has Fallen.

The lawsuit alleges that producers ‘have earned tens of millions of dollars from Olympus, but refuse to pay Butler a penny of the grosses and profits promised to him in the parties’ agreement.’ 

The actor’s contract meant he would receive 10 percent of net profits from the film, in addition to 6 percent of domestic gross above $70 million, and then a further 12 percent of foreign adjusted gross receipts over $35 million.

Johansson filed her bombshell lawsuit against Disney one day earlier, accusing the film company of breaching its contract over Black Widow.  

Scarlett Johansson, 36, filed her lawsuit against Disney Thursday, claiming she lost out on earnings as a result of Black Widow being released on streaming service Disney+ at the same time as its debut in theaters. The star in Black Widow

Scarlett Johansson, 36, filed her lawsuit against Disney Thursday, claiming she lost out on earnings as a result of Black Widow being released on streaming service Disney+ at the same time as its debut in theaters. The star in Black Widow 

Disney slammed Johansson (pictured with her husband Colin Jost) for her $50million lawsuit in an extraordinary statement

Disney slammed Johansson (pictured with her husband Colin Jost) for her $50million lawsuit in an extraordinary statement

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday, claims she had been guaranteed that Black Widow would have an exclusive theatrical release, and that the bulk of her salary was based on the box office performance.    

Tensions between the actor and Disney have escalated since with the film giant firing back at the her ‘sad and distressing’ suit that has ‘no merit whatsoever’.  

The company also released her salary figures for the last two Marvel movies.  

‘The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,’ the company said, adding her $20million fee for this film and $15million fee Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. 

‘Disney has fully complied with Ms. Johansson’s contract,’ the company said.

‘Furthermore, the release of Black Widow on Disney+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date.’ 

Johansson’s talent agency slammed the company for releasing her salary saying it was done in ‘an attempt to weaponize her success as an artist and businesswoman.’ 

‘Disney’s direct attack on her character and all else they implied is beneath the company that many of us in the creative community have worked with successfully for decades,’ Bryan Lourd, co-chairman of the Creative Artists Agency, said in a statement.   

Johansson, 36, filed her lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday, alleging that she lost out on more than $50million as a result of the film being released on streaming service Disney+ at the same time as its debut in theaters. Pictured: Disney CEO Bob Chapek

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige

Johansson, 36, filed her lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday, alleging that she lost out on more than $50million as a result of the film being released on streaming service Disney+ at the same time as its debut in theaters. Pictured: Disney CEO Bob Chapek (left) and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige (right)

‘This suit was filed as a result of Disney’s decision to knowingly violate Scarlett’s contract,’ Lourd said. 

‘They have very deliberately moved the revenue stream and profits to the Disney+ side of the company leaving artistic and financial partners out of their new equation. That’s it, pure and simple.’   

Black Widow took in $60million on the streaming platform Disney+ on the opening weekend alone, the company previously announced in its first breakdown of steaming figures for a movie.

The movie set a pandemic-era record bringing in $218million worldwide over opening weekend earlier this month, including the streaming figures, plus $80million domestic box office and $78million internationally.

However, the movie’s box-office performance dropped off sharply after the opening weekend, leading some analysts to question whether the Disney+ streaming release was taking a bite out of ticket sales.

Black Widow saw box office receipts plunge 67 percent after opening weekend, and ticket sales currently stand at $319 million globally, putting the film on track to become one of the lowest-grossing Marvel movies of all time.   

Gerard Butler filed his own lawsuit on Friday against Nu Image/Millennium Films claiming he is owed at least $10million for the 2013 action film Olympus Has Fallen

Gerard Butler filed his own lawsuit on Friday against Nu Image/Millennium Films claiming he is owed at least $10million for the 2013 action film Olympus Has Fallen 

This last year, the pandemic drove many studios to abandon traditional cinema releases and release films straight to streaming as theaters were shuttered for months.  

Warner Bros. decided to release its full slate of movies this year on HBO Max on the same day that they hit theaters.

Parent company AT&T, which owns both Warner Bros. and HBO, appears pleased with the formula and plans to extend it.

Last week, WarnerMedia chief Jason Kilar revealed that in 2022 Warner Bros. will be producing 10 films that will debut on HBO Max the same day they’re released.

Disney also moved toward simultaneous streaming release of movies due to the pandemic.

Multiple stars and directors have pushed back on the shift to streaming service releases because they cut into the much larger profits that come from traditional months-long exclusive theater runs.  

Warner Bros. and WarnerMedia was forced to pay more than $200million to talent up front last year to compensate for filmmakers’ loss of traditional profit participation after it chose to release movies on HBO Max at no additional cost to consumers.  

And in May it was reported that A Quiet Place II director John Krasinki and star Emily Blunt demanded more money from Paramount Pictures after its parent company ViacomCBS put the film on Paramount+ 45 after its theatrical release. 

Could Scarlett spark a Hollywood uprising? Star’s lawsuit could inspire others whose films were released via streaming to launch their own battles 

Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit against Disney raises questions over whether other major stars could follow her lead and launch their own legal attacks over compensation after a year where the pandemic drove many studios to abandon traditional cinema releases. 

The suit comes at a pivotal moment for the film industry, as more major studios experiment with releasing movies simultaneously online and in theaters.

In response to the pandemic, Warner Bros. decided to release its full slate of movies this year on HBO Max on the same day that they hit theaters.

Parent company AT&T, which owns both Warner Bros. and HBO, appears pleased with the formula and plans to extend it.

Last week, WarnerMedia chief Jason Kilar revealed that in 2022 Warner Bros. will be producing 10 films that will debut on HBO Max the same day they’re released.

Disney also moved toward simultaneous streaming release of movies due to the pandemic.

Multiple stars and directors have pushed back on the shift to streaming service releases because they cut into the much larger profits that come from traditional months-long exclusive theater runs.  

Warner Bros. and WarnerMedia was forced to pay more than $200million to talent up front last year to compensate for filmmakers’ loss of traditional profit participation after it chose to release movies on HBO Max at no additional cost to consumers.  

And in May it was reported that A Quiet Place II director John Krasinki and star Emily Blunt demanded more money from Paramount Pictures after its parent company ViacomCBS put the film on Paramount+ 45 after its theatrical release.



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