When City of Lies, the Johnny Depp-led movie about the aftermath of the Notorious B.I.G. murder, was yanked from the theatrical release schedule one month before its release a few weeks ago, many assumed it was somehow part of a Depp backlash. Surely, they said, it had something or other to do with that doozy of a Rolling Stone profile, the one painted him as a wine-slugging recluse who’d burned untold hundreds of millions. Now it seems the truth has more to do with the vagaries of business, not Depp himself — karmic though it may be.
According to The Wrap, the distributor that owned City of Lies, Global Road Entertainment, is in financial trouble. Last year, the company was formed out of a merger between Open Road Entertainment — whose titles include the Liam-Neeson-fights-wolves picture The Grey and Best Picture winner Spotlight — and IM Global. They had big plans — not just City of Lies but also a horror film called The Silence, which stars Mad Men’s Kiernan Shipka. They’ve hit some stumbling blocks since then, among them releasing a robot dog movie this weekend, called A.X.L., which grossed less than $3 million. That’s less than the other dog movie, Alpha, made in its second weekend, and that film is also bombing.
To stave off bankruptcy, The Wrap reports, they’ll be trying to sell off their finished films, City of Lies and The Silence among them. Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter reveals that the staff of Global Road is preparing for layoffs, and it’s unclear whether the company will be able to avoid Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Again, this has nothing to do with Johnny Depp, who’s just an innocent bystander — and someone who suddenly who’s a victim of a combination of terrible luck and a possibly overdue comeuppance.