Updated at 1:45 p.m. ET on September 26, 2019.
PARIS—At an art house on the Left Bank, a cinephile’s paradise thick with revival houses, moviegoers spilled out onto the sidewalk after the premiere of Woody Allen’s latest film, A Rainy Day in New York. The movie, which stars Timothée Chalamet and Elle Fanning, is a throwback—carriage rides through Central Park, cocktail piano at the Carlyle, older men falling for the naive blond coed. The crowd that warm fall evening seemed enthusiastic, as did many French film critics. But you’ll have to take their word for it. The movie is playing in France and will open across Europe—as well as in South Africa, and some countries in Latin America and Asia. It will not, as of now, be shown in the United States.
“That’s moronic!” A woman outside the theater said. “Why not show it? It’s not that bad.” “No, no,” her interlocutor answered. “C’est la question morale”—the moral issue.
Yes, the moral issue. Amazon Studios, which produced A Rainy Day in New York, dropped the film’s U.S. distribution last year after long-standing allegations, in which Allen’s adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, accused him of molesting her when she was a child, were seen in a new light. But the decision also came after it became clear that the economics of Hollywood were changing. “Amazon is facing the consequences of tying its fortunes to someone who had a tarnished personal history and relatively weak box-office appeal to begin with,” my colleague David Sims wrote in 2018. (Allen has denied all wrongdoing, though a judge found his behavior toward Farrow “inappropriate.” Allen is suing Amazon for breach of contract.)