Woody Allen’s ability to churn out movies may become increasingly difficult, if not impossible, with Amazon Studios considering a “hefty payout” to end a five-movie deal with him, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The company’s move to stop financing and distributing Allen’s films comes amid the renewed #MeToo-era focus on molestation allegations made against him by his daughter Dylan Farrow in 1992. Allen has steadfastly denied the claims and was never arrested or charged in the case.
But Allen also lost his champion at Amazon Studios in the wake of allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. As the Weinstein allegations sparked a national reckoning over sexual misconduct, Amazon Studio’s chief Roy Price resigned after he was accused of sexual harassment by a female producer.
In 2016, Price signed the deal with Allen to distribute his next five films. But the premiere of Allen’s first film for Amazon, “Wonder Wheel” couldn’t have come at a worse time, a couple weeks after the allegations against Weinstein were published in the New York Times and the New Yorker and just after Price’s resignation.
The red-carpet portion of the premiere of “Wonder Wheel” was canceled, but not before Allen himself sparked more controversy by telling the BBC that he was worried that the Weinstein scandal would 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.”
Allen’s next film, “A Rainy Day in New York,” has also become controversial and its release has become questionable. Three stars of the $25 million film, including Timothee Chalamet and Rebecca Hall, have publicly disavowed Allen over Dylan Farrow’s allegations.
While the Hollywood Reporter said that Amazon Studios is contractually obligated to release “Rainy Day,” the New York Times suggested that efforts to promote it could be seriously limited.
With controversy growing over Allen’s artistic legacy and Farrow’s claim that Allen assaulted her when she was 7, “the consensus is that Amazon will have no choice but to sever ties with the director, even if that means a hefty payout,” the Hollywood Reporter said.
The Business Insider points out that it could turn out to be cost-effective in the long-run for Amazon Studios to cut ties with Allen, despite whatever it loses from the payout.
“Wonder Wheel” only made $1.4 million domestically and $9 million internationally on a $25 million budget. Citing figures from the New York Times, the Business Insider added that Allen’s last four films have taken in a cumulative $26.9 million domestically while costing a total $85 million for production.
Amazon Studios looks at cutting ties with Woody Allen, report says