With a $220 global box office gross it seemed only a matter of time before Disney greenlit a sequel to their villain origin story, “Cruella.” Now it looks like that sequel is a go with actress Emma Stone back in the lead role of Estella a.k.a. Cruella De Vil. Talk of a sequel started rather quickly after the movie released simultaneously in theaters and on Premier Access via the Disney+ streaming service. At that time it was said director Craig Gillespie and screenwriter Tony McNamara would be returning but Stone’s involvement was still up in the air.
The timing of Stone’s signing is highly interesting. “Cruella,” alongside Disney and Marvel’s “Black Widow,” were the first to try out Disney’s simultaneous release structure of both theaters and streaming. Disney did not release how much of the movie’s profits came from streaming in comparison to “Black Widow” and “Jungle Cruise,” but it’s presumed to have made about $20 million in streaming alone.
Because of that release window, there were rumblings that Stone could possibly be preparing to sue Disney in a move similar to actress Scarlett Johansson back in July. Johansson filed a lawsuit against Disney, in which she alleged that the media company breached her contract by releasing the film day and date in theaters and on the Disney+ streaming service. According to the lawsuit (as reported by The Washington Post), her agreement with Disney-owned Marvel Entertainment guaranteed a theatrical release, with her salary based largely on how the movie did at the box office.
In response to Johansson’s filing a Walt Disney Company spokesperson issued the following statement: “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+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date.”
It’s unclear what, if any, effect this lawsuit might have had on Stone’s negotiations with Disney for this sequel. There is currently no word on when “Cruella 2” will start filming or be released.