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Emma Stone poised to sue Disney over ‘Cruella’ release strategy

Published : 31 Jul 2021 08:17 PM | Updated : 01 Aug 2021 12:35 AM

Emma Stone may reportedly join Scarlett Johansson in suing Disney over the company's release strategy for ‘Cruella’.

The rumblings of Emma Stone possibly suing Disney come from former THR editor Matt Belloni's What I'm Hearing... newsletter. In the newsletter, he reports, "Emma Stone, star of ‘Cruella’, is said to be weighing her options." Belloni also named Emily Blunt as another big-name star who may speak out regarding ‘Jungle Cruise’ also being offered simultaneously in theaters and Disney+ Premier Access, similar to ‘Black Widow’ and ‘Cruella’.

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige is reportedly angry and upset over the ‘Black Widow’ lawsuit. "[Feige] is a businessman, and he is not prone to corporate confrontations or shouts fights. But I've heard he's angry and ashamed," Belloni wrote.

Scarlett Johansson shook up the entertainment industry when news broke that she was suing Disney for doing a dual release (theaters and Disney+ Premier Access) of ‘Black Widow’. Her lawsuit stated Marvel ‘Black Widow’ was guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release, with her salary based on Black Widow's box office performance. However, since the Marvel Cinematic Universe film was also available to purchase for $30 on Disney+, thus greatly diminishing her earnings.

"Disney intentionally induced Marvel's breach of the agreement, without justification, in order to prevent Ms. Johansson from realizing the full benefit of her bargain with Marvel," the suit stated. Attorney John Berlinski, a representative for Johansson, also added, "This will surely not be the last case where Hollywood talent stands up to Disney and makes it clear that, whatever the company may pretend, it has a legal obligation to honor its contracts." Whether or not Emma Stone is the next "Hollywood talent" to file a lawsuit remains to be seen.

The ‘Black Widow’ star's representatives also reportedly tried to renegotiate her contract once Disney announced plans to offer the MCU film through its streaming paywall. The lawsuit adds that Johansson's representatives also asked for assurances ‘Black Widow’ would only release in theaters.

Disney has responded to Scarlett Johansson's lawsuit, calling it meritless. "There is no merit whatsoever to this filing," Disney said in a statement. "The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic." The statement went on to say the company did not violate Johansson's contract. According to the statement, "the release of Black Widow on Disney+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced [Johansson's] ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date."

‘Cruella’ and ‘Black Widow’ are both available in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access.       —Screen Rant