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Trivia / Gotti

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  • Box Office Bomb: Budget, $10 million. Box office, $2.4 million, which is actually worse than it sounds as 40% of ticket sales came from MoviePass, one of its own production studios. This is the second biopic of mobster John Gotti, and it was critically panned. It is one of the few films with a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and this sparked backlash from the film's marketing, which accused critics of conspiring against the film.
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  • California Doubling: Although set in New York, principal shooting was in Cincinnati.
  • Creator Killer: The failure of this movie was a massive death blow for one of its investing studios, MoviePass Ventures, and in turn one of the many consecutive death blows parent company, MoviePass. The entire reason MoviePass Ventures existed was to help bring financial stability for the entire company (which had been in freefall after its sudden peak in 2017 due to unsustainable business practices), with Gotti being its second investment of threenote . The colossal financial loss and the controversy from its futile attempt at Astroturfing and anti-critic hostility rendered the company doomed, with it shutting down its services in September 2019, then filing for bankruptcy and ceasing all operations by January 2020.
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  • The Danza: John Travolta as John Gotti.
  • Dawson Casting:
    • Spencer Rocco Lofranco is a youthful-looking 26-year-old who plays John Gotti Jr. as a teenager.
    • John Travolta. Gotti would've been 32/33 when the movie begins, 30 years or so younger than Travolta was at the time of shooting the film.
      • It gets even weirder at the end of the movie where Travolta wears old man makeup to portray Gotti towards the end of his life. Travolta at the time of filming was older than Gotti was at the time of his death.
    • Pruit Taylor Vince. Ruggiero was the same age as Gotti, but is much much older.
  • Dear Negative Reader: The movie's infamous ad campaign which referred to critics who gave negative reviews to the film as "trolls behind a keyboard."
  • Descended Creator: Leo Rossi (Bobby Boriello) also co-wrote the film.
  • Development Hell: The film was originally announced in 2010, tentatively titled Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father, with Barry Levinson attached as director, Lem Dobbs as screenwriter, and Al Pacino as Gotti, Lindsay Lohan as Victoria, and Ben Foster as John Jr. Levinson dropped out and was replaced at various points with Nick Cassavetes and Joe Johnston while the film sat in prolonged pre-production. Joe Pesci was cast in a sizable supporting role as Angelo Ruggiero, gaining thirty pounds for the role, but without his knowledge had his salary and role significantly cut down. Pesci subsequently sued the production company for breach of contract, a suit eventually settled out of court. Chazz Palminteri was also attatched in an unidentified role, but dropped out after pre-production repeatedly stalled. In 2015, production finally went forward with Kevin Connolly as director and Lionsgate Films handling domestic distribution. Principal photography was abruptly delayed when one of the financiers, Herrick Entertainment, demanded filming be relocated from New York City to Cincinnati, hoping to lower costs by taking advantage of Ohio's Motion Picture Tax Credit. After principal photography finally wrapped in February 2017, a release date of December 15 of that year was announced by Lionsgate, via limited theatrical and VOD release. The producers, including Travolta, bought the rights back from Lionsgate, hoping to sell it instead to a distributor who would give it a wide theatrical release. The original release date came and went, and in March 2018 Connolly announced Vertical Entertainment had secured theatrical distribution rights, with a US premiere in June that year.
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  • Follow the Leader: Many reviewers have noted the fact that, at times, the movie seems to be running down a bullet-pointed checklist of things that earlier mob movies, especially Goodfellas, did better. Based on a True Story? Check. Fourth-wall-breaking narration from the main character to the audience? Check. A soundtrack of classic pop hits? Check. Lionization of the mafia, minus actually highlighting the downsides of the lifestyle? Double-check.
  • Life Imitates Art: Director Kevin Connolly and actor Rhys Coiro had previously starred in Entourage, whose fourth season follows series protagonist Vincent Chase, an A-list movie star, trying to make the film "Medellín", his passion project about infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar, made. The strenuous behind the scenes drama culminates in a disastrous Cannes premiere, panning by critics, and a direct-to-video release in the United States. Gotti was a passion project for John Travolta for a good portion of the 2010s. The production was met with numerous dilemmas, culminating in a disastrous Cannes premiere, panning by critics, and a limited theatrical release. This was lampshaded by Martin Thomas in the film's Double Toasted review.
  • Not Screened for Critics: The film wasn't screened in advance for critics, and it received a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
  • Pop-Star Composer: Pitbull composed the score.
  • Reality Subtext: One of the movie's story beats (to the extent that it has them) is the death of John and Vicki Gotti's son Frank. Their actors John Travolta and Kelly Preston also lost a son.
  • Real-Life Relative: John Travolta and Kelly Preston were married in real life until Preston's death in 2020, and play the titular mobster and his wife in the film.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Barry Levinson, Nick Cassavetes, and Joe Johnston were among the directors attached to the movie while it sat in development hell.
    • Joe Pesci was originally cast as Angelo Ruggiero, and gained 30 pounds for the role, but he was abruptly recast in a smaller part and had his salary reduced. Pesci eventually filed a $3 million lawsuit against the production for breach of contract, a case that was eventually settled out of court.
    • Al Pacino, Lindsay Lohan, and Ben Foster were attached to the film at various points during production.
    • Dominic Cooper, James Franco, Shia LaBeouf and Channing Tatum were considered for John Gotti Jr.
    • Sylvester Stallone was in talks with John Gotti Jr. to star in the film.
    • Lindsay Lohan was cast as Victoria Gotti, but was dropped by producers, citing her management team's difficult demands.

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