Emma Stone is reportedly considering suing Disney after Scarlett Johansson's lawsuit against the company.
Matthew Belloni, the former editor of The Hollywood Reporter, said in his newsletter What I'm Hearing… that "Emma Stone, star of Cruella, is said to be weighing her options." He also suggested Emily Blunt could speak soon after the release of Jungle Cruise. He described Disney as "notoriously difficult to deal with," and said other creatives have been waiting for someone high-profile to talk about the situation, and said Johansson has a lot of support. (H/T Screen Rant (opens in new tab))
Johansson claims that Disney violated her contract with the hybrid release of Black Widow, which saw the Marvel movie release in theaters and on Disney Plus Premier Access simultaneously amid the ongoing pandemic. According to Johansson, Disney said the movie would get a "theatrical release" and that a "window" of time would pass before Black Widow went to streaming. The complaint alleges that Disney used the release to boost Disney Plus, and says the release meant Marvel (and Disney) purposefully avoided paying Johansson "'very large box office bonuses", according to The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab). Currently, Black Widow is on track to be one of Marvel's lowest-grossing releases at the box office.
Disney responded: "There is no merit whatsoever to this filing. The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Disney has fully complied with Ms. Johansson's contract and furthermore, the release of Black Widow on Disney Plus with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20 million she has received to date."
WarnerMedia caused a stir last year when it announced that all 2021 Warner Bros. movies would debut simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters. Directors Denis Villeneuve and Christopher Nolan both criticized the decision. "Some of our industry's biggest filmmakers and most important movie stars went to bed the night before thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service," Nolan said.
At the moment, Jungle Cruise is the last Disney movie scheduled for a simultaneous Premier Access release. The company also released Pixar movies Soul and Luca for free on Disney Plus, after they were originally set to debut theatrically.
With COVID vaccines now more widely available, it seems there won't be any further hybrid releases from Disney – so expect to see Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Eternals, and Spider-Man 3 in theaters only. WarnerMedia seem to have no plans to extend their release strategy beyond 2021, either: The Batman will be releasing strictly in theaters in 2022.