Lionsgate dropped Gotti, a biopic starring John Travolta as John Gotti, from its release slate and sold the film back to its production company. The mob epic stars Travolta as the famed New York mobster John Gotti, a larger-than-life real-life mob figure with a compelling story who had somehow never before been the subject of a full-on Hollywood biopic. The film got a late December release date through Lionsgate, and a trailer debuted in September, but nothing else has been heard about Gottisince.
The film has drawn next to no buzz or awards chatter, there’d been little promotion of it outside of the one trailer for Gotti, and no one, by all indications, has seen it. There have been no TV commercials or billboards. Lionsgate, it appears, isn’t pushing any films at all for awards consideration. And now, we know that Gotti won’t be getting that December release after all.
Gotti has been dropped by Lionsgate, just two weeks ahead of its planned Dec. 15 release date, The Tracking Board reported Tuesday. The studio has sold Gotti back to its producers, Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films, who will attempt to negotiate a new distribution deal for a 2018 release.
The film, directed by former Entourage co-star Kevin Connolly, stars Travolta as Gotti, the flamboyant and powerful “Teflon Don” who dominated New York’s mafia scene in the 1970s and ‘80s and triumphed in a series of trials before he was finally sent to prison in 1992; he died in 2003. The film costars Travolta’s wife Kelly Preston as Victoria Gotti, the mob wife-turned gossip columnist and reality star as well as William DeMeo as Sammy “Bull” Gravano, the mob underboss who ultimately turned on Gotti. While there were four separate TV movies and mini-series about Gotti throughout the 1990s, Gotti is the first-ever big screen movie.
Great as the American mafia movie tradition is, Gotti sounded like something of a dicey project. Travolta has played criminals and gangsters before, but he doesn’t exactly scream “mob boss,” while E from Entourage isn’t exactly Martin Scorsese when it comes to bringing the necessary gravitas to this sort of project, and the decision to shoot this most New York of stories mostly in Cincinnati didn’t bode so well either.
There’s a chance there’s some story here we don’t know, whether it’s forthcoming allegations against someone involved with the film of some sort of studio trouble. But once the film does see the light of day, it’ll be interesting to see whether it can do Gotti’s compelling personal story justice.