How the Scarlett Johansson Lawsuit Affected Disney’s Salary Negotiations for ‘Cruella 2’

Recently, the film industry has been abuzz with Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit against Disney for their release of Black Widow on Disney+ on the same day it was released in theaters.

Black Widow ©Disney

Black Widow was not the only Disney movie that has had a hybrid release this year, though. Similarly, Cruella released on both Disney+ Premier Access and in theaters on the same day this past May. Now, Emma Stone, star of Cruella, has accepted a deal for Cruella‘s sequel, with some specific terms to address the recent controversies.

For the first Cruella film, Emma Stone was paid around $8 million up front, which was a career high for her according to the Hollywood Reporter. Towards the end of production of the film, Disney strongly considered releasing Cruella only on Disney+.

©Disney | ‘Cruella’

If they did that, Disney would have been required to make a buyout deal with those involved in the movie under contract because many of the contracts include possible increases in payment for high box office numbers.


Stone and the director argued against the streaming-only release for Cruella, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which resulted in the mixed release on Disney+ and in theaters on the same day. But any release on streaming services can impact box office numbers significantly, possibly losing Stone money that would otherwise be due to her. Both Stone and other people involved in production were “under contracts for a film made for a theatrical distribution” (The Hollywood Reporter).

Emma Stone as Estella in Disney’s live-action CRUELLA. Photo by Laurie Sparham. © 2021 Disney Enterprises Inc. All Rights Reserved.

With Disney under criticism due to Johansson’s lawsuit against them, it was their priority to secure Stone for the Cruella sequel and demonstrate that they were both “talent-friendly” and not intimidated by other large streaming services. For the sequel, Emma Stone is being paid a guaranteed low eight-figure salary. Disney hasn’t stated yet how Cruella 2 will be released (on Disney+, in theaters, or both).

(L-R): Joel Fry as Jasper, Paul Walter Hauser as Horace and Emma Stone as Cruella in Disney’s live-action CRUELLA. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2021 Disney Enterprises Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Cruella 2 has not yet begun production, and the director, Craig Gillespie, hasn’t signed a deal yet. Keep following AllEars for more updates on Disney entertainment news!

Click Here to Read More About the Cruella Sequel In the Works at Disney

Did you see Disney’s Cruella when it came out in May? Tell us what you thought in the comments!

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