In a test of whether moviegoers want to see disgraced actor Kevin Spacey on the big screen, Billionaire Boys Club will get a limited release in theaters this summer, on Aug. 17, following its debut on VOD mid-July.
The fate of the ensemble crime-drama was unclear after Spacey was accused last fall of sexual assualt by a number of men in the U.S. and England. Netflix and MRC fired him from House of Cards, while Ridley Scott replaced Spacey in All the Money in the World.
Indie distributor Vertical Entertainment — which is also handling John Travolta’s Gotti — said it was “neither an easy nor insensitive decision” to release Billionaire Boys Club in cinemas. Vertical stresses that Spacey plays a smaller, supporting role in the film and that the rest of the cast shouldn’t be penalized.
Ansel Elgort and Taron Egerton have top billing in Billionaire Boys Club, which will be made availble on VOD platforms July 17. Emma Roberts, Jeremy Irvine, Cary Elwes, Judd Nelson and Billie Lourd also star in the movie, which is based on the real-life club of the same name that made headlines in Southern California in the 1980s.
“We hope these distressing allegations pertaining to one person’s behavior — that were not publicly known when the film was made almost two-and-a-half years ago and from someone who has a small, supporting role in Billionaire Boys Club — does not tarnish the release of the film,” Vertical said in a statement.
“We don’t condone sexual harassment on any level and we fully support victims of it. At the same time, this is neither an easy nor insensitive decision to release this film in theaters, but we believe in giving the cast, as well as hundreds of crew members who worked hard on the film, the chance to see their final product reach audiences,” the statement continued. “In the end, we hope audiences make up their own minds as to the reprehensible allegations of one person’s past, but not at the expense of the entire cast and crew present on this film.”
A new international trailer for Billionaire Boys Club (below) highlights Elgort and Egerton. At the same time, it certainly doesn’t shy away from showing a bearded Spacey in numerous scenes. Spacey, whose name appears in the final credits on the trailer, plays real-life Beverly Hills high-roller Ron Levin.
Vertical, based in Los Angeles, releases most of its movies simultaneoulsy on VOD and in select theaters. As such, these films often play in only 25 cinemas or fewer, although several have played in as many as 75 locations.
Gotti is an exception in getting a traditional theatrical release. The high-profile mob biopic debuted over the weekend in 503 theaters in 25 cities.