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Woody Allen Sues Amazon for $68 Million for Breach of Contract

Claiming breach of contract for refusing to distribute his latest movie, filmmaker Woody Allen has sued Amazon Studios for $68 million for breach of contract, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

Filed in federal court Thursday in the Southern District of New York, the lawsuit seeks damages for Amazon terminating a four-picture production and distribution deal without cause. The suit emerges as the future of Allen’s latest film, A Rainy Day in New York, remains uncertain, though production wrapped in 2017.

Allen, 83, and a four-time Academy Award winner, has accused Amazon of backing out of his deal last June after the #MeToo movement renewed media attention to longstanding accusations that he molested his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, in 1992. According to the Journal, the lawsuit reads:

“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 alleges that his business relationship with Amazon started to break down in late 2017, soon after an Amazon producer accused former Amazon Studios President Roy Price of harassment. Price also came under scrutiny for his business ties to movie producer Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women. 

A Rainy Day in New York stars Timothee Chalamet, Diego Luna, Elle Fanning, Jude Law, Selena Gomez and Liev Schreiber. Though completed in 2017, Amazon Studios has declined to distribute the film indefinitely. Many of the film’s cast members have publicly expressed regret for working with Allen. Chalamet and Gomez donated their salaries from the film to charity in a show of solidarity to victims of sexual assault.

In 2018, Dylan Farrow provided new details regarding her allegations against Allen on CBS This Morning. She has also written about her experience. Meanwhile, Allen has continued to forcefully deny the allegations. 

Variety has reported Amazon Studios Associate General Counsel Ajay Patel emailed Allen’s representatives notice back in June 2018, terminating the production and distribution deal. Allen’s camp maintains that Patel failed to provide a reason for the termination.

The deal between Allen and Amazon, sealed in 2016, saw the release of two other films, Wonder Wheel and Café Society.

“Like all beginning relationships, there is much hope, mutual affection and genuine goodwill — the lawsuits come later,” Allen said at the time, according to Variety.  

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