Filmmaker Woody Allen is suing Amazon for nearly $70 million, alleging breach of contract and a refusal to release his most recent film.
Allen recently came under fire over sexual abuse allegations, which led to the studio choosing not to distribute his latest film A Rainy Day in New York, which stars Jude Law, Selena Gomez, Elle Fanning, Diego Luna, Liev Schreiber, and Timothée Chalamet.
According to court documents obtained by The Blast, Allen claims the studio's actions have cost him around $68 million, while the deal they had struck up would have served for Amazon “to finance and distribute his future films and to be his ‘home’ for the rest of his career.”
He stated that the deal very clearly outlined Amazon's agreement to “finance the Allen Films, (ii) make minimum guaranteed payments to Gravier totaling between $68 and $73 million, (iii) pay Gravier [Allen’s production company] additional amounts based on the success of the Allen Films, and (iv) distribute the Allen Films widely.”
However, in June 2018 Amazon backed out of the deal. Allen claims the studio “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.”
Per the lawsuit, executives with Amazon Studios met with Allen's representatives and “discussed the negative publicity and reputational harm Amazon Studios had received because of allegations made against its former President, Mr. Price, and its association with Harvey Weinstein and The Weinstein Company.”
Based on that conversation, Allen says that he finished A Rainy Day in New York and then started production on other projects because, as he claims to have understood, Amazon was simply pushing the film's release date.
Then — on June 19, 2018 — Allen says he was served a termination notice that stated, “Amazon is terminating the Agreement with respect to each of the Pictures” and that “Amazon does not intend to distribute or otherwise exploit the Pictures in any domestic or international territories.”0comments
Allen goes on to say that Amazon has not issued a specific reason for their decision to terminate their agreement with him, only “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.' ”
Allen is suing Amazon for breach of contract, seeking damages “in excess of $68,000,000 in minimum guarantee payments.”