Black Widow fans worldwide can collectively breathe a sigh of relief tonight. According to Variety, Disney and Scarlett Johansson have settled the lawsuit that made headlines this summer. And because the lawsuit is settled, it seems there may be more Johansson/Disney content to come.
If you’ve been avoiding the news for the past two months, or even living a blissful social media-free existence like Daniel Craig, let me bring you up to speed. At issue in the lawsuit were the box office receipts from the film’s release and how Disney’s decision to release on Disney + impacted that. Part of Johansson’s pay for the film she starred in was tied to the box office. Unsurprisingly, there were no details about the terms of the settlement from Disney or Johansson’s team, but I suspect many dollars were involved.
The lawsuit played out in the headlines and, at times, got quite personal. Disney got a lot of heat for what some observers called “gender shaming” in how they publicly responded to Johansson’s demands. The Wall Street Journal even reported that Disney’s handling of the lawsuit caused frequent Disney/Marvel collaborators, Anthony and Joe Russo, to second guess signing up to do another movie. Considering that the Russo brothers directed Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame and a new film should have been a no-brainer, the fact that this hesitation even came out is huge.
That’s all water under the bridge now as the lawsuit comes to a close. Johansson’s statement, according to Variety:
“I am happy to have resolved our differences with Disney,” Johansson said in a statement on Thursday. “I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve done together over the years and have greatly enjoyed my creative relationship with the team. I look forward to continuing our collaboration in years to come.”
While this seems like PR speak, the last phrase caught my eye because it mentions future collaboration. And indeed, the Chairman of Disney Studios Content, Alan Bergman, confirmed that more Johansson content was on the way. There’s no mention of other Black Widow content on the way, but she’s working with them on their Tower of Terror project that was announced in June. Because of the lawsuit, people wondered if that project would even go forward.
So what IS the Tower of Terror project? According to IMDB, the horror/thriller is still very early in the development phase, with a movie treatment having been finished on September 9th. That means there’s no script yet, just a super detailed story document. The project is being written by screenwriters John August and Josh Cooley and is being produced by Johansson and Jonathan Lia. Also on the project is Marvel cinematography vet James Whitaker. The original Tower of Terror Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios opened in the summer of 1994, so if you’re a gambler and want to mark your calendars based on some wild speculation, perhaps a 30-year anniversary release (2024) is in the cards.
And if you’re keeping track, it’s another movie that’s based on a popular Disney parks ride and existing IP. The biggest one released, Pirates of the Caribbean, launched a massive movie franchise. Jungle Cruise, released this summer and starring the Rock was based on a ride too but doesn’t seem to have rocketed to the same spot in the pop culture psyche. Personally, I’m ready and anxiously waiting to buy my Tower of Terror and Black Widow mashup merch now that the lawsuit is done.