John Travolta's Gotti Biopic Pulled From Lionsgate Just Ten Days Before Release

The Kevin Connolly film has been sold back to its production company

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Updated: John Travolta has responded to the Gotti and Lionsgate reports to claim they are "bordering on on fake news".

Speaking to Deadline, the actor explained that he was underwhelmed with the initial minimal release Lionsgate had planned for the film, so he sought a financier to buy out Lionsgate, and has since found another distributer to give the production a wider release.

"Unfortunately, the reports were speculation bordering on fake news," the star said. "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.

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"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. 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.

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"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."

Original story:

Just ten days before John Travolta's Gotti biopic was due to be released, Lionsgate has severed all ties with the project.

The Tracking Board is reporting that the film - about the ill-fated Italian-American mobster John Gotti - is being sold back to production company Emmett/Furla/Oasis.

Producers will begin to meet with new distributors, but the film's planned release of 15 December now seems unlikely, with a 2018 release date expected instead.

Liongate haven't cited a reason for the sale.

Travolta's real-life wife Kelly Preston co-stars as Victoria Gotti, while veteran actor Stacy Keach plays Gotti's mentor Aniello Dellacroce.

Entourage actor (and member of Leonardo DiCaprio's notorious Pussy Posse) Kevin Connolly directed the movie from a script co-written by The Limey writer Lem Dobbs and The Accused actor Leo Rossi.

Speaking about the movie recently, Connolly told Entertainment Weekly: "There are nice cars and fancy suits in the movie, but we're also showing where all that eventually leads.

"HBO made a Gotti movie in 1996, but his death, which was horrible, hasn't been covered too much. That's a different angle that we're going to explore."

The production - which centres on Gotti's life over the course of three decades- had been in development for years, with rumours of Travolta taking the lead role circulating since 2011.

Gotti - who died aged 61 of throat cancer in prison in 2002 - was one of the most powerful and dangerous crime bosses in the world. He was acquitted in three separate criminal trials before being convicted of murder in 1992.