Woody Allen is suing Amazon Studios for allegedly backing out of their massive film deal and refusing to distribute his last film, in part because of the sexual abuse allegations against him, claiming they’ve cost him at least $68 million.
According to court documents obtained by The Blast, Allen claims he entered into a deal with Amazon in 2017 for multiple films. He says the deal called for Amazon “to finance and distribute his future films and to be his ‘home’ for the rest of his career.”
Allen claims the deal specifically stated that Amazon was 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.”
But in June 2018, Allen claims Amazon backed out on the deal. He alleges 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.”
Allen claims he worked on the first film — “A Rainy Day in New York,” starring Jude Law, Selena Gomez, Elle Fanning, Diego Luna, Liev Schreiber, and Timothée Chalamet — but says Amazon has refused to distribute it.
According to the suit, Amazon Studios execs met with reps for Woody Allen 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.”
Allen finished the film and began working on the others because he claimed Amazon had stated they would push the release of “A Rainy Day in New York” to 2019. But on June 19, 2018, Allen claims he received a termination notice stating, “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.”
He claims Amazon has never given an exact reason for the termination, 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.'”
Woody Allen is suing for breach of contract and is seeking damages “in excess of $68,000,000 in minimum guarantee payments.”