With a global box office gross of $220 million, it seemed only a matter of time before Disney decided to make a sequel to its villain origin narrative, “Cruella.” Now it appears that the sequel will be made, with actress Emma Stone reprising her role as Estella a.k.a. Cruella De Vil.
Following the simultaneous release of the film in cinemas and on Premier Access via the Disney+ streaming service, talk of a sequel began to circulate immediately. Director Craig Gillespie and screenwriter Tony McNamara were believed to be returning at the moment, but Stone’s involvement was still up in the air.
Stone’s signing comes at an interesting time. Disney and Marvel’s “Black Widow,” together with “Cruella,” were the first to try out Disney’s simultaneous release strategy of both cinemas and streaming. In comparison to “Black Widow” and “Jungle Cruise,” Disney did not disclose how much of the film’s profits came from streaming, but it is estimated to have grossed around $20 million in streaming alone.
There were rumblings that Stone was planning to sue Disney because of the release window, similar to actress Scarlett Johansson‘s move in July. Johansson launched a complaint against Disney, alleging that the media firm breached her contract by releasing the picture on the same day it was released in theatres and on Disney+.
Her contract with Disney-owned Marvel Entertainment promised a theatrical release, according to the lawsuit (as reported by The Washington Post), and her income was predicated in part on how well the film did at the box office.
A Walt Disney Company spokeswoman responded to Johansson’s filing with the following statement: “This filing has no validity whatsoever. In its callous disdain for the devastating and long-term worldwide impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the case is exceptionally tragic and heartbreaking. Ms. Johansson’s contract has been fully honoured by Disney, and the release of Black Widow on Disney+ with Premier Access has considerably increased her capacity to collect extra pay on top of the $20 million she has already received.”
It’s uncertain what impact the lawsuit had on Stone’s discussions with Disney for the sequel if any. There is no information on when “Cruella 2” will begin filming or when it will be released.