×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Amazon Studios Has Returned Woody Allen’s Movie. Will Any U.S. Distributor Release It? (EXCLUSIVE)

Amazon Studios has returned the domestic rights to indie film “A Rainy Day in New York” back to its director and producer, Woody Allen, Variety has learned.

Allen sparked widespread media confusion last week when he released a trailer for his Elle Fanning and Timothée Chalamet drama on his Facebook page, saying it was “coming soon.” The film had been stuck in the mire of litigation with his former creative partners at Amazon, but Allen is now free to proceed with any domestic release elsewhere as he sees fit, according to an individual close to the project.

“A Rainy Day in New York” already has international distribution commitments from France’s Contracorriente Films (Sept. 18), Italy’s Lucky Red (Oct. 3) and Germany’s Filmwelt/NFP (this fall). Germany was pre-sold in 2017 by FilmNation and Allen’s Gravier Productions secured France and Italy, and will handle sales in the rest of the world and now the U.S.

“Rainy Day” recently screened for at least one American indie distributor as a prospective acquisition, yet another source close to the project said the showing was done as a “professional courtesy” rather than an earnest business proposition. That scenario prompts an obvious question — what American company will possibly step up to release the film?

Popular on Variety

Allen and Amazon are locked in a legal battle regarding his defunct overall deal, a reported $80 million multi-project agreement, which stalled when misconduct accusations against the director resurfaced in the #MeToo era. The return of the film rights does not impact the current legal battle, another insider said. An Amazon Studios representative declined to comment on the matter. Reps for Allen did not return Variety‘s multiple requests for comment.

“This is death, publicity-wise,” said one top film distribution chief speaking on the condition of anonymity, on potentially acquiring the movie. While Allen has long been public about what he calls “25-year-old, baseless” accusations of sexual abuse from his daughter Dylan Farrow, #MeToo has galvanized Hollywood to hear and support victims.

Further complicating matters is that fact that two of the film’s cast members– Chalamet and Hall — donated their salaries from the production to charities like the Time’s Up legal defense fund. The pair publicly expressed regret over having worked with Allen.

“Talent wants to distance themselves as far as possible from this. None of them are likely to promote it,” the executive continued. Another major problem they foresee is quality. Allen has had a mixed track record for years, delivering hits like “Midnight in Paris” and “Blue Jasmine” in equal measure with starry duds.

The plot of “Rainy Day” revolves around ingenue Fanning being pursued by Chalamet. However, in the film she gravitates toward an older man played by Liev Schreiber, who is 30 years her senior.

The only viable distributors for a project like “A Rainy Day in New York” would presumably be small shops looking to make a splash or load up on content, said numerous show business players who spoke on background with Variety. Few could likely stand the public relations crush, the insiders noted.

Last August, Vertical Entertainment proceeded with a limited theatrical release of “Billionaire Boys Club,” despite the implosion of supporting star Kevin Spacey’s career after his own #MeToo scandal.

“We don’t condone sexual harassment on any level and we fully support victims of it. At the same time, this is neither an easy nor insensitive decision to release this film in theaters, but we believe in giving the cast, as well as hundreds of crew members who worked hard on the film, the chance to see their final product reach audiences,” the company said in a statement at the time. Released on only 10 screens, the film grossed a reported $287 in its first two days of release.

Team Allen might benefit from a domestic release strategy moving forward, if only for the fact that the director has no intention to retire. The 83-year-old is currently in production on an untitled drama in Spain, being financed by international conglomerate MediaPro. The company previously worked with Allen on titles like “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.”

“We have a 10-year relationship with Mr. Allen,” a MediaPro spokesperson told the New York Times in February. “Like all projects we produce, we judge the creator by its work.”

More Film

  • Harvey Weinstein arrives at a Manhattan

    Harvey Weinstein's Request to Move Trial Out of NYC Is Denied (Again)

    An appeals court denied the second request from Harvey Weinstein’s legal team to move his trial out of New York City on Tuesday. Weinstein’s attorneys asked the Appellate Division last week to move the trial to Albany or Suffolk County, arguing it is impossible for him to get a fair trial due to the “carnival-like [...]

  • Adrian Rossi appears in Summer White

    Visit Films to Sell Sundance Player ‘Summer White’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    New York-based sales company Visit Films has acquired worldwide rights for Mexican feature “Summer White,” world premiering in Sundance’s World Cinema Dramatic Competition on Sunday Jan. 26. Visit will also be screening the film at Berlinale’s European Film, Market. Now a key North American sales company for Latin American films, Visit’s catalog includes other major [...]

  • Avengers Endgame

    4DX High-Tech Cinemas Break Box Office Records in 2019

    CJ 4DPLEX, the company behind multi-sensory 4DX cinema technology, has announced that it had a record-breaking 2019, grossing more than £246 million ($320 million) for 4DX worldwide. It was the best year yet for the groundbreaking format, marking a 12% increase from 2018’s record $286 million. The uptick is partly credited to booming revenues in [...]

  • Endeavor Content Studio Logo

    Endeavor Content, Exile Strike First-Look Deal With Mexican Producer Subtrama (EXCLUSIVE)

    Endeavor Content is upping its local-language game, signing a significant first look deal with Mexico City-based producer Subtrama. Endeavor enters the deal with Exile Content Studio, a long-form English and Spanish content maker. Subtrama is behind films like Gael García Bernal’s “Museo.” Mauricio Katz, Manuel Alcalá, and Panorama Global’s Gerardo Gatica and Alberto Muffelmann run [...]

  • Taylor Swift Variety Facetime

    How Midterm Elections Inspired Taylor Swift's New Song, 'Only the Young'

    Miss Americana was keeping another song about America in her back pocket, as it turns out. Taylor Swift recorded a song during her “Lover” album sessions, “Only the Young,” that was held back and kept under wraps for the right occasion — that occasion turning out to be “Miss Americana,” the Lana Wilson-directed documentary that [...]

  • Bradley Cooper Nightmare Alley

    Netflix Nabs Bradley Cooper's Leonard Bernstein Drama

    Netflix will back Bradley Cooper’s upcoming drama about Leonard Bernstein, the legendary conductor and musical maestro behind “West Side Story” and “Candide,” Variety has confirmed. The film was initially set up at Paramount. It has an A-list lineup of producers, including Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, and Todd Phillips. Kristie Macosko Krieger from [...]

  • The Simpsons - Disney parodies -

    Disney Mashes Up 'The Simpsons' Parodies of Disney Films, Theme Parks

    Disney has embraced some of the gentle ribbing dished out by “The Simpsons” over the years — hoping to convince more people to sign up for Disney Plus. The media conglomerate released a compilation of what it calls “the best Disney references in ‘The Simpsons,'” which is now part of the Disney empire, with past [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content