Woody Allen is suing Amazon Studios for breach of contract after the studio backed out of a four-picture deal.
Allen alleges the studio refuses to release his film “A Rainy Day In New York”, which has been complete for more than six months, citing only vague reasons for holding the project and reneging on an agreement to produce three more films.
“Amazon has tried to excuse its action by referencing a 25-year-old, baseless allegation against Mr. Allen, but that allegation was already well known to Amazon (and the public) before Amazon entered into four separate deals with Mr. Allen — and, in any event it does not provide a basis for Amazon to terminate the contract,” the $68 million lawsuit reads. “There simply was no legitimate ground for Amazon to renege on its promises.”
Allen’s daughter Dylan Farrow has long alleged she suffered sexual abuse at the hands of Allen. The filmmaker has repeatedly denied the allegations and was cleared after a months-long investigation concluded Farrow had not been sexually assaulted.
Amazon entered the deal with Allen in 2016, distributing his films “Cafe Society” with Kristen Stewart that same year, and “Wonder Wheel” starring Kate Winslet in 2017.
According to the suit documents, Amazon executives met with Allen’s representative in December 2017 as the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements began gaining traction. The execs allegedly cited their damage to the reputation the company had suffered over its association with Harvey Weinstein and the misconduct allegations against former Amazon Studios head, Roy Price. In the meeting, both Amazon execs and Allen rep agreed to hold off on the release of “A Rainy Day In New York” until 2019.
The lawsuit alleges that in June 2018, the studio sent a notice signalling the termination of their four-picture deal with Allen due to “supervening events, including renewed allegations against Mr. Allen, his own controversial comments, and the increasing refusal of top talent to work with or be associated with him in any way, all of which have frustrated the purpose of the Agreement.”
Allen is seeking $68 million in minimum guarantee payments arising from the four films, plus damages and attorney fees.
Several of the stars in “A Rainy Day In New York” have addressed their participation in the film, including Rebecca Hall and Timothee Chalamet who donated their salaries from the film to charity. The film features Chalamet and Elle Fanning as a young couple who are met with poor weather when they arrive in New York. Jude Law, Diego Luna, Suki Waterhouse, Selena Gomez and Liev Schreiber are among the ensemble cast.