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John Travolta’s ‘Gotti’ Shelved Just 10 Days Before Its Scheduled Release

Gotti
Lionsgate

Just when he thought he was back in, they pulled him out.

Gotti had all the makings of another potential comeback for star John Travolta. When his career was floundering in the early ’90s, another crime saga turned him back into an A-lister. Gotti, a biopic of one of the most notorious mobsters in recent American history, looked like it could have cemented his second career resurrection after last year’s The People vs. O.J. Simpson. But now, according to The Tracking Board, the Travoltaissance is on hold, along with Gotti’s release. Just 10 days before the film’s scheduled opening, Lionsgate sold the film back to its producers:

Now that the film will no longer be released under the Lionsgate Premiere banner, the producers will begin to meet with new distributors. They should find there’s actual interest in this movie, which offers the Oscar-nominated actor his juiciest role in years.

No reason was given for why Lionsgate not only postponed this release, but also returned the movie back to its producers less than two weeks before it was scheduled to premiere on multiple platforms and distribution channels. You are free to speculate however you wish. The Tracking Board thinks others will be interested in the film, which should come out some time in 2018. I guess we’ll see. Here’s the trailer for the film.

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UPDATE: John Travolta tells Deadline the initial reports about Gotti’s release getting scuttled were “speculation bordering on fake news”:

Lionsgate was planning on a minimal release and I did an investigation into people who might have the interest and financial wherewithal to better release it … It wasn’t dropped. It wasn’t easy to get Lionsgate to give it up. They said no, twice, and I literally begged them to reconsider and they finally and generously let it go. We signed this deal about three weeks ago, to purchase back the film from Lionsgate. Our mistake was we should have said something right then, and discussed our plan for the film. We didn’t anticipate this speculation that is so grossly wrong.

Travolta told Deadline they are “near a deal” with a “significant distributor” to give Gotti a wider release. He’s also planning to submit the film to the Cannes Film Festival. If and when this new distributor is announced, we’ll let you know.

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