November 09, 2019
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Woody Allen and Amazon have come to an agreement to finish a lawsuit that challenged the digital giant’s early termination of the filmmaker’s lucrative movie deal. On Friday night, the two sides filed paperwork with a New York federal court that stipulated to dismissal of the case with prejudice. Terms of the settlement weren’t revealed.
Allen filed his claims back in February. He asserted that Amazon could not justify cancellation of a deal to release the writer-director’s next four films, with minimum guaranteed payments totaling between $68 million and $73 million. He further claimed that Amazon had partnered with Allen when the e-commerce was hoping to become a full-fledged Hollywood studio and was cutting bait and reneging on promises after realizing some success on the endeavor.
The reason that Amazon said it was justified in terminating the movie deal was Allen’s comments upon the #metoo movement.
Allen, who has been accused of sexually abusing adopted daughter Dylan Farrow, expressed sympathy for Harvey Weinstein as well as his victims, described that situation as “very sad for everybody involved.” Amazon pointed to Allen’s further comment, “You don’t want it to lead to a witch-hunt atmosphere, a Salem atmosphere, where every guy in an office who winks at a woman is suddenly having to call a lawyer to defend himself.'”
According to Amazon, Allen’s comments effectively sabotaged promotional efforts for his films and undercut the worth of the agreement.
In July, a federal judge narrowed Allen’s suit, with the litigation primed for a nasty discovery process involving Amazon potentially interviewing many in Hollywood about their feelings about working with Allen. Meanwhile, Allen wanted to explore the launch of Amazon Studios and launch and the development of its motion picture distribution business. Amazon itself has had troubles on the sexual misconduct front.
The stipulated dismissal appears to avoid a public showdown and will leave for another day lingering questions about whether Hollywood contracts can be frustrated and canceled by bad publicity. Meanwhile, the dismissal occurs after the European opening of Allen’s A Rainy Day in New York — one of the films that was to have been covered by the Amazon agreement. The film has performed modestly and has yet to attract a U.S. distributor.