John Cassavetes could not find any distributor for the film after completion, and was at one point literally carrying the reels under his arm, from one theater to another, in hopes of getting one to play his movie. Finally, Martin Scorsese, who had recently become a critically acclaimed, following his film Mean Streets (1973), happened to be a huge fan of Cassavetes' work threatened to pull his film Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974) from a major New York film festival unless they accepted this film.
To help fund the film, John Cassavetes remortgaged his home. Peter Falk also chipped in with some of his earnings from Columbo (1971). When no one wanted to buy "Influence" , Cassavetes spent $750,000, most of it his own money, to release it, with the sage guidance of young distributor Jeff Lipsky. He helped to "four-wall" or rent out movie theaters to show the film and it ended up playing around the world, eventually grossing $12 million.
This is one of three films written and directed by John Cassavetes to receive Oscar nominated. Gloria (1980) received 1 nomination for Best Actress, (Gena Rowlands), who was also nominated for Cassavetes' A Woman Under the Influence (1974), which got 2 nominations, with Cassavetes also getting a Best Director nod. Faces (1968) received 3 nominations - 2 for acting in supporting roles, and 1 for Cassavetes for screenwriting. Cassavetes was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor for The Dirty Dozen (1967) in a film he neither wrote nor directed. Neither Rowlands nor Cassavetes ever won an Academy Award.