Emma Stone isn’t suing Disney, she just signed a bigger deal for ‘Cruella 2’

Lori Laughlin drops her car off at valet as she goes shopping

A little more than two weeks ago, Scarlett Johansson sued Disney for breach of contract over the release of Black Widow. Basically, ScarJo’s bonuses are screwed up because Disney released BW on their Premier Access streaming service and Disney is not sharing the revenue with Scarlett. I think Scarlett has a good case, and I think Disney knows she has a good case, which is why Disney immediately began to smear Scarlett. While Scarlett has gotten some significant support from her agency, CAA, and her union, SAG, I’ve been a little bit surprised by the lack of vocal support she’s gotten from her peers in the industry. There’s no telling who has reached out to her privately, granted, but for now, the optics are “everyone is waiting to see how all of this plays out before they take a side publicly.”

Immediately following Scarlett’s lawsuit, there were rumors that Emma Stone and Emily Blunt might do the same, or explore their options when it came to suing Disney. Emma’s turn in Cruella was critically acclaimed, but the box office was not as big as people expected, likely because of the same Premier Access issue. Same with Emily Blunt and Jungle Cruise. But it looks like Emma isn’t going to sue. Instead, she’s using Scarlett’s lawsuit as a way to negotiate a better deal for herself for the Cruella sequel.

Oscar winner Emma Stone has closed a deal to star in the sequel to Cruella, in what is a very good sign for Disney as it secures talent in the wake of some criticism of its theatrical-Disney+ Premier model.

Cruella, due to the pandemic, was released in theaters and on Disney+ PVOD tier on May 26, earning more than $222 million in worldwide ticket sales. The release of Cruella 2 is a ways off, and it’s not certain at this time whether the movie will be a pure theatrical release or like its predecessor released simultaneously in homes.

Emma Stone’s deal for Cruella 2, I hear, mutually benefits both sides especially at a time when Disney is still assessing the dynamic window model on its event titles.

Endeavor executive chairman Patrick Whitesell had this to say about the agency’s client Stone and her Cruella 2 deal.

“While the media landscape has been disrupted in a meaningful way for all distributors, their creative partners cannot be left on the sidelines to carry a disproportionate amount of the downside without the potential for upside. This agreement demonstrates that there can be an equitable path forward that protects artists and aligns studios’ interests with talent. We are proud to work alongside Emma and Disney, and appreciate the studio’s willingness to recognize her contributions as a creative partner. We are hopeful that this will open the door for more members of the creative community to participate in the success of new platforms.”

[From Deadline]

It’s interesting that they specified that Emma is represented by Endeavor because I misremembered it and I thought she was with CAA, like Scarlett, and I thought “well, that’s awkward.” But no, not as awkward. I wonder if CAA has an agency-wide beef with Disney right now, or if various CAA agents are still making deals between Disney and their clients. Endeavor certainly is, although it seems more than possible that Emma’s rep has at least been in contact with people on Scarlett’s team.

So, what are our thoughts on Emma’s machinations? Emma and Endeavor are clearly using Scarlett’s lawsuit to their benefit, and Disney has likely sweetened Emma’s deal substantially since the lawsuit, for fear of fighting off another lawsuit. Part of me is like “good for Emma, I’m glad she found a silver lining with this Disney sh-tshow.” Another part of me is like “damn, not much of a sisterhood.”

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Photos courtesy of Disney, Getty and Backgrid.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

44 Responses to “Emma Stone isn’t suing Disney, she just signed a bigger deal for ‘Cruella 2’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. jbyrdku says:

    Good for Emma.

  2. Louise177 says:

    Does anyone know what Emma’s deal was for Cruella? She may not have had the same clauses and not in as good of spot as Scarlet. Also you can agree with someone but not put your career on the line. I don’t think it’s fair to criticize Emma for not stopping working with Disney. Their smear campaign is horrible but I don’t know if I would quit in her shoes.

    • Becks1 says:

      I mean, CAA isn’t going to stop working with Disney and its not like Gabrielle Carteris is going to tell actors to stop working with Disney. Emma made the right play here and negotiated different terms. My guess is that she was already well in the process before the lawsuit was filed, but it may have given her a little extra ammo.

      I also think Cruella was different for her, because it likely would have done well at the theater but its less certain. Black Widow was pretty much guaranteed to hit certain box office milestones and trigger Scarlett’s bonuses (I don’t know what those milestones are, I’m just assuming they were more likely than not to hit based on Marvel movies in general) so Scarlett has a strong case about past performance of Marvel movies at the box office.

      • Fortuona says:

        Well Florence Pugh is also repped by CAA

        And Scarlett’s take would have been down as China has still not given it a release date that would take down by about a half

    • Dutch says:

      I would say the deals were very similar due to both actors being in a similar strata, were the top-billed stars of their respective projects and also received executive producer credits.

      • Christine says:

        I have to disagree, respectfully. Scarlett Johansson has been the female lead in a million Marvel films. I have said it before, and I will say it again, Disney would not have pulled this with RDJ, Chris Hemsworth, or Chris Evans, and RDJ and Evans are no longer in their back pocket. Emma Stone would have to make a lot more movies with Disney to be in ScarJo territory. They sold her down the river.

  3. Mia4s says:

    “ I’ve been a little bit surprised by the lack of vocal support she’s gotten from her peers in the industry.”

    ….really? I’m not at all surprised. Disney is way too big and powerful. Even the A-listers don’t want to lose out on a ridiculous number of movie, streaming series, and other opportunities. I feel like Tom Hagen in the Godfather “This is business Sonny, it’s not personal!”

    Also don’t be the slightest bit surprised if Scarlett has a new project with Disney in the next few years. This will go quiet and that project will be announced. What won’t be announced is that is is a sweeter deal than would be expected….so she gets paid and Disney never admits wrongdoing (probably what happened with Emma).

    After everything we know about and have seen from Scarlett over the past few years, does anyone actually think any part of this lawsuit was to help her fellow actors? Come on.

    • Sigmund says:

      Scarlet was already signed up to do a project with Disney when she filed the lawsuit, the Tower of Terror reboot. No idea if it will continue or not.

      • Courtney B says:

        It’s continuing but without her. Tiffany Haddish will be in it but I don’t know if she always was or she’s replacing ScarJo.
        Edit: never mind. She’s in the Haunted Mansion reboot.

      • Jc says:

        Disney canceled that movie right away with Scarlett’s involvement.

  4. JennyJazzhands says:

    Sisterhood? I mean she has offended several minority and transwomen with zero apology, no?

    • Maria says:

      Yeah, along with calling Dylan Farrow a liar. Scarlett may be in the right but she’s not in a position to expect sisterhood. My desire for her to get her proper pay is as far as I’ll go with her.

    • Meg says:

      Yeah my thoughts too. What exactly is Emma supposed to do as sisterhood with Scarlett? And when has Scarlett looked out for anyone beyond Scarlett?

  5. Mina_Esq says:

    Scarlett isn’t fighting some noble fight. Her agents miscalculated the impact of streaming and weren’t anticipating a worldwide pandemic when the negotiations were taking place. All the other actors will now use that knowledge to negotiate better deals for themselves, just like Emma is doing. It would make zero sense for others to burn their bridges with Disney.

    • JT says:

      Yep. I don’t know how she could expect to make bucket loads of money on the backend with a pandemic where theater attendance was/is down. It was never going to happen during covid where people don’t feel safe enough to be at the movies with people breathing all over them. I can’t understand the basis of this lawsuit. Film is a fickle business, as Scarlett should know. Sometimes you have to take a loss.

      • Becks1 says:

        She’s arguing that the same day release on PA hurt the film at the box office. I imagine that’s probably pretty accurate in itself, but I also don’t think this movie, in 2021, with delta variant etc, was ever going to do what past Avengers/Marvel movies did in the theaters, so its hard to say “if not for the PA release this movie would have made X”. but I think its logical that it would have made MORE than it did without the same day release. She did have a streaming clause in her contract, her lawyer commented about that a week or so ago, but I don’t think that took into account the idea of same day release on Premier Access. That was what Scarlett was trying to renegotiate and push back on (the same day release) and Disney refused.

      • Dutch says:

        Scarlett basically is suing to get a percentage of the Disney+ Premiere Access money. She signed on to make the movie before D+ was announced in 2017 and of course years before the pandemic.

        Because of the pandemic and to drive dollars to its new streaming service, Disney created a new revenue stream that was in direct competition to the theatrical revenue that so much of SJ’s compensation is built around. The success of BW on Disney+ relied on the same factors as the theatrical release — the Marvel IP, ScarJo’s star power, etc., so she and her reps believe she deserves a cut of that money too. Reports early on said during the delays SJ’s agents tried to re-negotiate terms, but were stonewalled.

        This lawsuit could set a precedent moving forward, because the court is essentially being asked to establish that ticket sales and day/date VOD streaming revenue both fall under the same “box office gross revenue” umbrella when it comes to back-end compensation.

      • Fortuona says:

        Well is getting her 8% of D+PA ,what she trying to do is push to get a slice of the D+ money itself even though she gets her cut when it is viewed starting this month but at SAG rates which Andrea seems not to think is not high enough even though the deal was cut 2 years ago

    • ennie says:

      I side with the actor here, being Scarlett or not.

      • JT says:

        But even the PA money Disney made still wouldn’t be the same as a full theater release. I just feel that profits are down in most sectors, with the arts communities down the most. At some point the losses will be felt and it’s looking like that is now. Disney should absolutely give Scarlett her cut but there is no way she could expect the same as a traditional backend bonus with a pandemic going on.

      • Algernon says:

        @ JT

        You can expect a lower return because of an obviously depressed economy and still argue you weren’t bargained with in good faith when a new release strategy came along. Scarlett’s lawyers didn’t *miss* something with streaming, D+ literally didn’t exist when they made this contract and Disney made no effort to renegotiate when it did. Even if she gets a cut of the D+ money, it won’t be as much as she would have made in a normal economy, but she still should get a cut of that money.

      • Fortuona says:

        And it a new turn today at the Investors thing from Disney with the CEO saying Shang-Chi is an experiment in the new 45 day turn round when it will go straight to streaming after that

        So all Disney films are now going to be released with a limited time at cinemas then straight to D+

        And one of the stars of Shan-Chi took the experiment thing as a racial attack, instead of him telling the investors how they will get their money back.Less money going to cinemas and more for the company as they get to keep

        And this really kill the backend deals with such a short time at theatres . And Scarlett did get her 8% of the DPA money/box office and as I already said it still has not got a date for release in China

      • Fortuona says:


        They were trying to renegotiate with everybody at the end of 2020 but Scarlett ran out of time with the other stuff due to come out

        And you are asking Disney to take a random punt on how much money it would have and add in China’s box office sales where it still has not had a date to release .

  6. equality says:

    It’s hard to feel extraordinarily bad for those who make millions off the production when there are behind-the-scenes people who are contributing to the success who make far less.

    • Wilma says:

      I totally agree with you. Every time this pops up I think of how all that money could be distributed in a more fair way and how everyone in a production could benefit. I understand Scarlet her position and I don’t expect her to not advocate for herself, but actors and producers make way too much money compared to the rest of the people who work on a movie.

    • Lizzie says:

      I think the actors and directors are more deserving than Disney exec’s, but that’s my opinion.

    • MissMarirose says:

      And if they’re not honoring the contracts of people with the money to fight back, what do you think they’re doing to the people who make far less?

    • ennie says:

      @Lizzie and @MissMArierose +111

  7. Darla says:

    In order to get the benefit of sisterhood you have to be a sister tho. Scarjo?

  8. Songs (Or it didnt happen) says:

    Yeah, no. Cruella’s box office was not as big because it opened mid-Vaccination spree, when vaccines were still very hard to find for many, and people who were interested in seeing Cruella weighed it and decided it was not worth risking death in a crowded theater. I’m all for better deals for movie stars if their films get released on PA, but I think it’s wrong to spin a false narrative that people would have gone en masse to see Black Widow and Cruella in the theater if there was no PA. People who watched them at home most likely would have just waited until they were available for home viewing. There was impact, but the impact was not significant. If anything, more people probably watched the movie because of PA than they would have in a non-Covid world.

  9. The Artist Formerly Known as Valiantly Varnished says:

    Disney was smart to do this. And so was Emma. Instead of suing she secured herself a nice bag – which I’m sure offsets what she would have sued them for. And she doesn’t have to pay millions and spend years in litigation with Disney.
    And by renegotiating with Emma, Disney insured that ScarJo would be on her own in her fight. Pretty diabolical.

  10. Beff says:

    Good for Emma. It’s another reason I support Scarjo’s lawsuit. It opens the door for actors to start negotiations with a stronger hand.

  11. reef says:

    Disney is the biggest entertainment conglomerate in the world. I’m not defending ScarJo in the name of “sisterhood” either because her agents messed up her deal. Every actor, if they’re able, should have backend and streaming clauses in their deals. It’s been a thing for awhile. I’m amazed that her team didn’t consider the overarching ramifications of suing Disney for money, I imagine can be easily recouped and then some on another Disney tentpole project they’d likely have her on.

    • Algernon says:

      Why do people think her agents messed up her deal? Her contract was fine, this is extraordinary circumstances involving a brand new release platform that did not exist when she made her contract. When Disney decided to put BW on D+, they should have just bought out her bonus as WB did with Gal Gadot for WW84. Why isn’t anyone saying Disney messed up by not just paying her off in the first place?

      • Fortuona says:

        She still made more on this than Gal Gadot made ,8% of $360m at least is $30 m backend + plus the $20 made for fiming it she probably made at least twice as much and no still no release date for China

  12. MissMarirose says:

    I certainly hope this works out for Emma. Renegotiating the contract is certainly a less stressful resolution to suing. But I hope for her sake there are ironclad terms that come into play if Disney tries to screw her over again.

  13. Reia says:

    Nobody wants to mess with Disney. Their a big powerhouse in movies right now. SJ is basically booted out they canceled her upcoming film and might cancel black widow 2. There were rumors of a sequel but I highly doubt that will continue into fruitation. Even if SJ wins other actors won’t speak out they value job opportunities and want to remain in good graces with job prospects.

    Disney is pretty shady though that new upcoming Marvel film about the rings is getting a blown out theatrical release because it appeals to foreign markets. What happened to their excuse about the pandemic.

    • Dutch says:

      Odds are great there will be a Florence Pugh-led BW movie that ScarJo will not act in. SJ might get an executive producer credit similar to the five EP credits Jon Favreau got post Iron Man 2.

  14. lucy2 says:

    I’m glad it got her a better contract, that hopefully lays the groundwork for others as well. Disney shouldn’t get to cheat out on bonuses because they opted to release same day online.

    It’s highly unlikely, but she could still sue over the original contract, right?

    • Becks1 says:

      I would not be surprised if there was a clause in this new contract saying she she won’t sue over the original K, or requiring any disputes go to arbitration or something.

  15. Sunnyvale says:

    Good for Emma. Honestly thought Scarlett’s team took a were way too aggressive approach by trying to slander Disney and claims of sexism(although I agree the statement was v rude & slightly misogynistic)! She’ll likely start losing big gigs just like Megyn fox did after her comments about Michael Bay!

  16. Nikki* says:

    No shade at all for Emma. Women need to negotiate mine fields in career advancement without having to be “nice”. It’s business.