Woody Allen is suing Amazon for $68 million over their decision not to release his movie A Rainy Day in New York, which has been completed for more than six months. Amazon also terminated a four-picture deal that had been in place with Allen after sexual misconduct allegations made against him by his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow resurfaced. Allen, for his part, has firmly denied the allegations and says that they are baseless.
The suit was recently filed in the Southern District of New York. The $68 million figure is intended to cover the minimum guarantee that was in place for the four-picture deal at Amazon, at least $9 million for each movie, in addition to additional damages and attorney's fees. The suit alleges that Amazon has only provided vague reasons for not releasing A Rainy Day in New York and that they had no grounds to terminate the deal. A key portion of the suit reads as follows.
"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. There simply was no legitimate ground for Amazon to renege on its promises."
Amazon distributed the Annie Hall filmmaker's last two movies, Wonder Wheel and Cafe Society. The four-picture deal was championed by Roy Price, who resigned from Amazon in October 2017 after being accused of sexual harassment. In the wake of the #MeToo movement, spawned by the wave of allegations against former Hollywood powerhouse Harvey Weinstein, the accusations against Allen, which are said to have occurred in 1992 when Dylan Farrow was just seven-years-old, resurfaced. With Price out at Amazon, the company decided to shelf Allen's latest movie and cancel the deal. The complaint further alleges that the company has not provided any actual evidence to support their termination of the deal.
"Despite repeated requests, Defendants have never identified any basis in fact or any term of the MAA (Multipicture Acquisition Agreement) giving Amazon Content the right to terminate the Allen Film Agreements. Instead, Defendants' counsel merely made the vague statement that Amazon Content's performance of the MAA became 'impracticable' because of '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. Defendants' counsel still was unable to cite any term of the MAA or any legal basis to support the Termination Notice."
Jude Law, Selena Gomez, Elle Fanning, Diego Luna, Liev Schreiber, and Timothee Chalamet star in A Rainy Day in New York, which may never see the light of day. Amazingly, when Woody Allen's deal was first announced in 2016, the director said, "Like all beginning relationships, there is much hope, mutual affection and genuine goodwill, the lawsuits come later," in an oddly prophetic statement. This news was previously reported by Deadline.