John Travolta’s “Gotti” is making headlines for reportedly being dropped from release a mere 10 days before opening in theaters. Lionsgate Premiere was set to open “Gotti” on December 15, but news broke yesterday on the Tracking Board that the film would no longer be released and that distribution rights were being reverted back to producers Travolta has weighed in on the release controversy in an interview with Deadline and denies the film was suddenly dropped.
“Unfortunately, the reports were speculation bordering on fake news,” Travolta told Deadline. “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.”
Travolta says he found a partner in Edward Wilson, who has produced films like Woody Allen’s “Cafe Society” and “Wonder Wheel.” According to the actor, Walson found enough money to buy the film from Lionsgate Premiere in order for Travolta and to find a new theatrical distribution that will agree to open “Gotti” nationwide.
“[Wilson] 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,” Travolta said. “That is the simple explanation for this. 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.”
Travolta says the deal to buy the film from Lionsgate Premiere occurred three weeks ago, which would mean the film was hardly dropped from the calendar 10 days ahead of a release by Lionsgate.
“Our mistake was we should have said something right then, and discussed our plan for the film,” Travolta said. “We didn’t anticipate this speculation that is so grossly wrong.”
Travolta and Wilson will now look for a new theatrical distributor. Read the actor’s complete “Gotti” interview over on Deadline.