Lionsgate has canceled its plans to release a long-in-the-works John Travolta project, with Entertainment Weekly reporting that Gotti has been punted from the studio’s upcoming distribution schedule. According to EW, the film’s producers are shopping around to give the film a new home, lest Travolta’s attempts to capture the life of John Gotti, the former (alleged) head of the Gambino crime family, go to waste.
Trailers for the film showed Travolta sporting the same semi-paralyzed facial features he showed off as Robert Shapiro in The People Vs. O.J. Simpson, and spouting out “Those were the days”-style narration like he’s suddenly the star of Meh-Fellas. Gotti has bounced among a couple of studios in the past—hence the multiple delays since it started filming last year, and was originally conceived more than a decade ago—although it’s not clear why producers keep losing interest, in this case, just 10 days before it was scheduled to premiere.
Update: Deadline has the inside details on Gotti’s fate, and it turns out the kill order didn’t come down from on-high; rather, the film was set-up for a limited release through Lionsgate’s smaller subsidiary, Lionsgate Premiere. When producers decided the movie was worthy of a wider theatrical release, they invoked a buy-back clause that allowed them to get the film back from the company, so that they could shop it to a distributor willing to open it nationwide this May. And thus concludes another long, tortured chapter in the longer, tortureder tale of this movie’s journey to theaters.