Emma Stone Closes Deal for 'Cruella' Sequel

Star returns despite hybrid theatrical-streaming release for first film


Emma Stone has closed a deal to star in Disney’s “Cruella” sequel, an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap.

The deal is supposedly mutually beneficial for both Stone and Disney in the wake of a heated debate about its day-and-date release strategy on Disney+ and in theaters. There’s been speculation since Scarlett Johansson sued the studio about its decision to release “Black Widow” on both Disney+ and on theaters the same day that other stars, like Stone, from the studio’s current titles would follow suit. Johansson sued for breach of contract and alleged that she lost money on the studio’s decision to release the film the way it did.

“Cruella” was released earlier this summer in theaters and on Disney+, similarly to “Black Widow,” due to the pandemic, and earned more than $220 million globally. Given that the sequel won’t be released for quite some time, it’s not clear whether the film will be released in just theaters or on Disney+ as well. The studio announced the sequel in June, shortly after the film’s release.

While a spokesperson for Stone has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment, Endeavor Executive Chairman Patrick Whitesell said to Deadline: “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.”

Many films have headed to streaming instead of theatrical in the wake of the pandemic, which has forced studios and agents to negotiate terms for talent for both a theatrical release as well as a a streaming debut when setting up a project so that contingencies (and compensation) is in place no matter how the film eventually reaches consumers. However, these contingencies were not in place for films like “Black Widow” or “Cruella,” which were greenlit way before the pandemic started.

“Cruella” also starred Emma Thompson, Paul Walter Hauser, John McCrea and Joel Fry. Craig Gillespie directed.

Deadline first reported the news.

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