Woody Allen’s $68 million lawsuit against Amazon suffered a major setback July 31, as much of the director’s case was dismissed.
In a decision filed Wednesday, a federal judge in New York ruled that four of Allen’s claims against Amazon Studios should be tossed out, Deadline reported. Siding with Amazon on a partial motion to dismiss, Judge Denise Cote gutted much of Allen’s complaint from February, handicapping his further action to move against the retail and streaming giant.
Allen’s premise for suing Amazon over the ending of their four-picture deal stated that the studio had “no legitimate ground” to step away from their agreement based on resurfaced allegations of sexual abuse brought by his daughter Dylan Farrow (allegations he denies). But Amazon argued that the director’s statements about Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo movement sabotaged his films, creating a PR nightmare.
In her decision, Cote rejected the contention made in Allen’s claim that the cancellation of his Multipicture Acquisition Agreement (MAA) with Amazon prevented him from meeting his financial obligations with investors and foreign distributors. Other charges, including a breach of “assumed covenant of good faith and fair dealing” unfair enrichment were ruled redundant of the MAA claim and also scrapped.
Allen can still pursue his action for individual films, notably “A Rainy Day in New York,” which the studio shelved, but not the multi-picture deal overall.
According to The Hollywood Reporter the case moves ahead with discovery scheduled to wrap by November 1. Amazon is hoping to court some A-List names in its defense, drawing on a list of Hollywood insiders who have distanced themselves from the director.
Meanwhile, Allen continues to work, filming a new picture with the working title of “Rifkin’s Festival” in San Sebastian, Spain.
PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture fellow. He can be reached at Grisar@Forward.com.