“Gotti” made less than $100,000 on Monday night, just $219 per theater in 466 showcases. The total gross in theaters will be around $3.5 million. No one knows how much it cost, but at least $20 million was wasted on it. Probably a lot more.
For Travolta, this is an all time low. Not counting small movies with theatrical releases into less than 50 screens, “Gotti” is the “Saturday Night Fever” star’s lowest grossing film in general release since 1995.
You have to go all the way back to “White Man’s Burden,” released by Savoy in ’95, a year after Travolta was resurrected with “Pulp Fiction.” The great legend Harry Belafonte, then in his 70s, was Travolta’s co-star, along with Seth Green. Lawrence Bender, maybe jazzed up from “Pulp Fiction,” produced. For Japanese director Desmond Nakano “White Man’s Burden” was a first film. He disappeared after that, but did direct a Japanese-American production in 2007 called “American Pastime.”
Is Travolta done? He’s been on our screens since the 70s with “Welcome Back Kotter.” He’s had other disasters, career lulls, has been written off many times. He had four huge flops in a row from 1981 to 1989 until the first “Look Who’s Talking” movie, which was garbage, caught fire and brought him back.
An actual run of hits in the 90s after “Pulp Fiction” saved him– “Get Shorty,” “Broken Arrow,” “Phenomenon,” “Face/Off,” and “Michael” are the best of his resume– and then he drifted into junk maintenance. In the last two decades he had odd one off hits with “The General’s Daughter” (which was famous for its bloated perk budget) and “Wild Hogs.”
Can he resuscitate? Why not? Even though his personal life is creepy, Travolta has the good will of “Saturday Night Fever,” “Grease,” and “Pulp Fiction” and he knows how to play that card. If he pulls off that wig, he has a whole new career waiting. Meantime, “Gotti” finds its place in Razzie history.