The May 2021 release of Cruella, directed by Craig Gillespie, was preceded by what would go down as the first major red carpet attraction since the beginning of the still-in-progress pandemic. And while the the film is quite far from being fairly considered a commercial and/or a critical failure, not to mention the fact that a sequel is already in development, its simultaneous Disney+ release ensures it will remain a talking point following the Johansson suit.
As spotted by Screen Rant writer Robert Peterpaul on Friday, a recent newsletter drop from Matt Belloni—previously of the Hollywood Reporter—included a bit saying “Emma Stone, star of Cruella, is said to be weighing her options.”
Belloni also mentioned Emily Blunt, star of Disney’s Jungle Cruise, as another actor speculated to be speaking out in some fashion regarding the simultaneous streaming and theatrical release method soon. As Belloni explained, Disney is said to be “notoriously difficult to deal with” in situations of this nature.
Complex has reached out to reps for Disney and Emma Stone for comment.
On Thursday, word broke that Johansson was suing Disney in connection with the release strategy behind Black Widow. In the lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court and viewed by Complex, Johansson’s legal team said Disney had “intentionally induced” Marvel’s breach of contract in order to prevent the star from fully realizing the benefit of her “bargain” with the studio.
When reached for comment by Complex on Thursday, Johansson’s attorney John Berlinski said Disney was attempting to hide behind the pandemic “as a pretext” to boost Disney+ subscription stats and the company’s stock price.
“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,” Berlinski told Complex.
Disney, meanwhile, later shared its own statement arguing there was “no merit whatsoever” to the filing.
“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 read.
In response, Johansson’s agent Bryan Lourd (co-chair at CAA) said Disney had “shamelessly and falsely” accused his client of being insensitive to pandemic concerns.
“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,” Lourd said Friday. “That’s it, pure and simple.”