Why John Travolta's Gotti Movie Was Pulled Right Before Its Release

gotti trailer 2017

This holiday season, a lot of awards hopefuls will be hitting theaters in the attempt to engage the critics just before Oscar season. One of these movies was going to be the John Travolta starrer Gotti, in which the veteran actor plays the titular character. I say was because yesterday we learned Lionsgate had pulled Gotti's release a mere 10 days before it was supposed to happen. The big mystery at the time was why. Now, however, it seems a wide release may be the answer.

New reports indicate there was some disagreement between Lionsgate and the company that produced the new movie, including Emmett/Furla/Oasis, which produced the film alongside Highland Film Group and Fiore Film. The general gist is that the producers really believed Gotti could thrive in a wide release format, meaning more theaters across the country would show the film. However, the deal that the John Travolta-led movie had struck with Lionsgate actually was with Lionsgate Premiere and meant that the movie was planned to get a limited release in theaters before hitting home entertainment platforms, which is not what the producers apparently wanted.

Deadline says that there was a "buy-back clause" in the contract for Gotti's distribution. The producers used that to gain the movie back. John Travolta also confirmed to the outlet that the way the movie was being distributed was the problem.

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. Ed is a fan of mine and of the Gotti story and really wanted to see the movie. I invited his group, they saw it and bought it. That is the simple explanation for this. It wasn't dropped.

Gotti was in development for a super long time. We first heard there were problems with the project six years ago. First Nick Cassavetes bailed on the project, after which Barry Levinson was brought on to direct. At one point, Joe Pesci was signed on for the gig and even sued the production before it was ultimately put on hold. Flash forward to 2016 when the movie was finally shot, with Kevin Connolly on as the director and John Travolta starring alongside Kelly Preston, Stacy Keach, Pruitt Taylor Vince and Spencer Lofranco. Overall, it should be a very different project than it was initially conceived, and John Travolta really seems to believe in that vision. The producing team reportedly plans to submit the movie to Cannes in 2018 before getting a theatrical release date.

We'll let you know as soon as Gotti figures out everything it needs to do to land a new -- and hopefully wide -- release date. At minimum, that won't be able to happen until next year, however. In the meantime, you can take a look at everything that is planning to be released with CinemaBlend's full movie schedule.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.