IIn the whirlwind of the movie theater opening discourse, an unprecedented season of awards and the impact of pandemic-driven streaming and on-demand releases on the future of the film industry, something has gone noticeably, well … unnoticed. A new Woody Allen movie was released today.
A rainy day in New York stars Timothée Chalamet, Elle Fanning, Selena Gomez, Jude Law and Liev Schreiber – an eclectic but star-studded cast – and follows Chalamet’s character (named, I’m not kidding, Gatsby Welles) as he travels to New York City to stage a romantic weekend for his long-distance girlfriend (Fanning). Plans are thwarted as the two get carried away in a tangle of artistic and family misadventures. It is raining.
The movie itself isn’t remarkable – mixed to negative reviews lament “not great, not hilarious, but not terrible or horrible either” – but what it represents is significant. It appears to be the first film to cancel Woody Allen. Or rather, this is the first film to take a negative hit that suggests the controversial director has been disowned by Hollywood.
Of course, whether or not an artist is actually “canceled” is one thing; the word has become a catch-all for the professional reactions provoked by the controversy.
But after decades of sexual abuse allegations against him by his daughter Dylan Farrow that sparked intense debate in peaks and valleys over whether the accusations should matter in actors’ decisions to work with him and in celebration of his work by industry, A rainy day in New York marks the first time that there has been a tangible effort on the part of the actors to distance themselves from him and the film, and the distributor to bury it completely.
(Allen has repeatedly denied the allegations, first made in 1992, and has never been charged in multiple inquiries. In 1993, the state attorney announced that if he had found a “cause probable ”to continue, he was dropping the case because“ Dylan was too ‘fragile’ to face a trial. ”In 2014, Farrow detailed her decades of trauma over what she says took place, criticizing Hollywood where “All but a few (my heroes) closed their eyes” and “most found it easier to Accept the ambiguity, to say” who can tell what happened “.”)
A rainy day in New York, which is now available on VOD and digitally, was originally produced as part of Allen’s massive deal with Amazon for four films with payouts worth up to $ 73 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
But between the film’s main photography start in 2017 and its post-production completion in 2018, The New York Times and The New Yorker released their explosive investigations into Harvey Weinstein’s three-decade pattern of predatory sexual assault, abuse and harassment, igniting the #MeToo movement and cultural recognition of powerful men and sexual misconduct.
The news brought Farrow’s allegations back to the fore. The debate over what happened – Allen, like Farrow, has strong supporters – and whether Allen should still have a place in Hollywood has once again dominated the zeitgeist, although this time around he also seemed to dominate. industry boards.
The tick actor Griffin Newman, who had a small role in the film, was the first Rainy day The actor spoke up, explaining in an October 2017 tweet that he believed Allen was guilty, regretted having played a role in the film and that he was giving his entire salary for his work. at RAINN, le Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. “It was an educational experience for all the wrong reasons. I have learned conclusively that I cannot put my career above my moral, ”he said.
Several months later, Chalamet became the first major star of the film to follow suit. He donated his salary to RAINN, Time’s Up and the LGBT Center in New York City. “I was asked in a few recent interviews about my decision to work on a movie with Woody Allen last summer,” he explained in an Instagram post. “What I can say is this: I don’t want to profit from my work on the film, and to that end, I’m going to give my full salary. “
Actress Rebecca Hall, who has a supporting role in the film and previously received a Golden Globe nomination for starring in Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, wrote an Instagram post explaining that the day after the Weinstein investigation broke, she was on the Rainy day set for her a shooting day and that she would also donate her salary.
“After reading and rereading Dylan Farrow’s statements a few days ago, then coming back and reading the older ones – I see not only how complicated this issue is, but also that my actions have made a another woman felt silenced and rejected, ”she wrote. “I regret this decision and I would not do the same thing today. It’s a small gesture that doesn’t come close to compensation, but I gave my paycheck to @timesup. “
(Hall later clarified, “I said on purpose that the choice was not about a judgment one way or another. I don’t think anyone in the audience should be judge and jury in such a case. complex. “)
Selena Gomez, after some negative reactions for not joining Chalamet and Hall in their actions, then followed suit, donating an amount that “far exceeded” her salary to Time’s Up as well.
As the cast in the film distanced themselves from the film and Allen, Amazon realized it was a PR crisis. The growing power of the #MeToo movement, the reshaping of Farrow’s claims, Allen’s own controversial remarks in response (“I’ve done everything the MeToo movement would like to accomplish”), and the cast’s refusal to be associated with the filmmaker or the rendered film Rainy day essentially unsaleable.
“As the cast in the film distanced themselves from the film and Allen, Amazon realized it was a PR crisis.“
Although the film is already in the box, Amazon has announced that “it does not intend to distribute or exploit the images in any way in a national or international territory.”
Whether Allen was “canceled” or not, it looked like the movie had.
In February 2019, Allen sued Amazon in response, demanding guarantees of $ 68 million to $ 73 million and additional damages for the termination of its agreement.
The breach of contract lawsuit was the subject of a grievance, “Amazon attempted to excuse its action by referring to a 25-year baseless allegation against Mr. Allen, but this allegation was already well known to Amazon (and the public) before Amazon got involved. four distinct offers with Mr. Allen – and in any event, that does not allow Amazon to terminate the contract. “
A few months later, Amazon returned the film rights to Allen. The two sides settled down soon after, and this summer it was announced that distributor Signature Entertainment would be releasing. Rainy day in theaters across North America and the UK – a move that raises eyebrows given the film’s questionable marketing and the fact that there was and is a global pandemic.
There might have been good reasons Signature believed there was a financial rationale for the film’s release.
The allegations against Allen have been around for decades and had not plagued his box office in the past, and Rainy day had performed at film festivals again and was enjoying an international release, in which he won around $ 22 million. It’s about on par with classics like Balls on Broadway, husbands and wives, and Broadway Danny Rose, when those totals were adjusted for inflation, and more than the Kate Winslet star Wonder wheel, Allen’s previous film.
Yet when Rainy day released in theaters in the United States last month, its six screens grossed around $ 457 each, totaling around 300 ticket buyers and a paltry $ 2,744. It’s of course tempting to understand Allen’s viability as a commercial player given these paltry numbers, but there’s also the fact of the pandemic.
As Rainy day hits VOD and digital with a similar fanfare, its theatrical release has been met with an apparent silence, it seems that if the Allen debate, as it has been for decades, is Still ongoing and undecided, the headline-grabbing controversy coupled with his anemic enthusiasm suggests a turning point.
While film co-star Jude Law did not join her castmates in condemning the director and Cherry Jones defended Allen when asked about it, figures like Mira Sorvino and Greta Gerwig said they would never work with him again. Winslet, who first defended his work with the filmmaker when Wonder wheel was released in 2017, recently expressed regret.
“It’s like, what was I doing working with Woody Allen and Roman Polanski?” Winslet said Vanity Fair in September. “It’s amazing to me now how these men have been held in such high esteem, so widely in the film industry, and for as long as they have been. It is really shameful.
Allen, who before Rainy day Being put on the shelves by Amazon was famous for releasing a movie every calendar year since 1981, hasn’t stopped working. His latest film, Rifkin Festival, starring Christoph Waltz, Louis Garrel, Gina Gershon and Wallace Shawn, premiered in September at the San Sebastian International Film Festival.
There is no word on a US release date yet.
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