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techkenyot.com February 21, 2019


Woody Allen suing Amazon for $68M over killed movie deal

08 February 2019, 03:24 | Elsie Buchanan

Woody Allen sues Amazon for $68MILLION after it pulled the plug on his film

Woody Allen attends the 'Wonder Wheel' screening at Museum of Modern Art on Nov. 14 2017 in New York City

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".

Woody Allen has filed a $68 million suit against Amazon. Additionally, the suit suggests that Amazon's cancelation has interfered with the ability of Allen's production company, Gravier, "to meet certain obligations to outside investors and foreign distributors".

Amazon asked Allen and his team to delay the release of the first film under their deal - A Rainy Day in NY, with a cast that includes Jude Law, Selena Gomez, Elle Fanning, Diego Luna, Live Schreiber and Timothée Chalamet - until 2019.

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Subsequently, Amazon's representatives stated they were canceling the agreement, 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 objective of the Agreement". Several actresses have also won Oscars for his movies.

Amazon's general counsel Ajay Patel allegedly told Allen's reps in January 2018 A Rainy Day in NY would be released but asked them to "push back" the release date to 2019, which Allen agreed to do.

Per the lawsuit, the conglomerate was ready to distribute the film - starring Selena Gomez and Timothee Chalamet - in August 2017, but got cold feet in June 2018. He's also aiming to retrieve the attorney and damage fees.

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But a few months later, as the #MeToo movement was taking off, Amazon Studio executives met with Allen's reps and discussed the "negative publicity and reputational harm" the company had received over its association with pervy producer Harvey Weinstein and its former head Roy Price, who'd just resigned over sexual harassment allegations - then asked to "push back" the A Rainy Day in NY release to 2019.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in federal court in NY, calls Amazon a "technology giant but Hollywood novice". As a result of the renewed scrutiny on the director, the first film in the partnership, Wonder Wheel, had trouble finding willing distributors, and eventually flopped when it finally did see release. The writer-director has averaged about one movie a year since his Annie Hall heyday in the late seventies, but hasn't been behind the camera since 2017, making for the longest absence of his career.

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