While the lawsuit between Disney and Scarlett Johansson has been put to bed, that doesn't mean that the fallout isn't still affecting people within the industry. Back in July, Johansson filed a violation of contract suit against Disney for the hybrid release of Black Widow. There was some back and forth between Disney and Johansson, which got a little petty if we're honest, but the lawsuit was resolved at the end of September. However, that doesn't mean everything is back to normal. There were a lot of rumors that Kevin Feige was very unhappy with how things were handled, that stars like Emma Stone or Emily Blunt were going to file similar suits. However, the biggest one was that Anthony and Joe Russo were reportedly hesitating to work with Disney again due to the lawsuit. Variety recently spoke to Joe Russo. While he wouldn't comment on whether there are issues with negotiations saying, "it would be inappropriate for us to comment on a deal if we were in the middle of it," he expressed that there was a lot of tension.
"There's a lot of tension, just like there is in a lot of industries, because there's a lot of disruption," he said. "People's nerves are fraying, and it's hard to predict what's going to happen or where anything is going."
Russo went on to say that he's glad that the Black Widow lawsuit has been resolved and that he believes that it is indicative of the changing landscape of how we consume and produce media. This is a conversation that some of Hollywood has been refusing to have right up until COVID-19 happened and movie theaters had to close.
"I'm glad that the lawsuit's resolved. I do think it was indicative of significant change that's been happening. The resolution speaks volumes about the respect for artists moving forward in this changing landscape."
Russo is a believer in the theatrical experience, but he also seems to be a realist about where this industry is heading. If movie theaters are going to become a more niche experience, then the smaller theaters and smaller movies won't really have much of a place. However, Russo went on to say that streaming productions tend to have less studio interference.
"I don't see a resurgence of independent movies in theaters in the future. I just don't," he said. "You get more money to make them digitally. Less headaches. The easiest thing for Netflix to do is to greenlight a smaller film. What I've found, and what a lot of other filmmakers have found, is that nobody really bothers you. That's an incredible experience to have."
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the box office and while people are also getting ahold of the vaccine, it's going to be interesting to see how hybrid releasing, PVOD, and lawsuits like this one with Black Widow are going to impact the industry overall. It's still way too soon to make any sort of definitive statement, it's even too early to really judge what is a success or failure currently at the box office because the numbers are so warped, but likely within the next year, the post-pandemic movie industry is going to form into being. What exactly that is going to look like when it comes to theatrical releases and streaming and budget remains to be seen.