Brow Beat

Woody Allen Is Suing Amazon Studios Over Unreleased Film and Canceled Deal

Woody Allen wears a brown bucket hat and black glasses as he poses in front of a backdrop the says "Wonder Wheel" and "Amazon Studios."
Woody Allen in 2017.
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Woody Allen is suing Amazon Studios for refusing to distribute A Rainy Day in New York, the Wall Street Journal reports. The movie, starring Selena Gomez and Timothée Chalamet, was delayed in the early days of the #MeToo movement after Dylan Farrow revived allegations that Allen molested her as a child, which Allen has repeatedly denied.

Allen is seeking more than $68 million in damages over Amazon’s failure to release his film and for terminating their contract, according to the claim. The suit states: “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.”

Amazon’s relationship with Allen led to his limited series, Crisis in Six Scenes, and the studio distributed his films Café Society and Wonder Wheel. The partnership continued with a four-picture deal in 2017 in which Amazon agreed to pay Allen’s company at least $9 million per film, with additional financial benefits and show them “in major-market theaters in the U.S. for 90 days and a minimum of 500 screens,” WSJ reports. When Allen’s lawyers asked for an explanation for the canceled deal, Amazon said the contract had become “untenable” 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.”

Allen’s past statements regarding Amazon now seem prophetic in light of the breach-of-contract lawsuit. “Like all beginning relationships, there is much hope, mutual affection and genuine goodwill—the lawsuits come later,” he once said of the Café Society news. “My guess is that [Amazon Studios vice president] Roy Price will regret this,” he said of Crisis in Six Scenes. (Price has since been ousted following public sexual harassment accusations against him.)

Several actors, including Ellen Page, Greta Gerwig, Mira Sorvino, and Chalamet have apologized for working with Allen since then, with Chalamet donating his salary from the movie to charities as well as the Times Up Legal Defense Fund.