Thursday 22 February 2018

€28m FIFA movie makes $600 on release in US

Actor Gerard Depardieu with Sepp Blatter at the Cannes premiere of 'United Passions'
Actor Gerard Depardieu with Sepp Blatter at the Cannes premiere of 'United Passions'

Rachael Alexander

FIFA is not enjoying a good run. Fighting sleaze and corruption claims an all sides, the world football body was hoping to have better luck on the silver screen.

But a vanity film about the history of the organisation has fallen flat on its face.

It managed to take in just $607 (€538) in its opening weekend in the US.

'United Passions' was funded by about €23m of FIFA cash, and was completed before corruption charges were made against 14 of its officials in May.

Starring Tim Roth as Sepp Blatter, the hagiography of football's governing body has had damning reviews.

'The Village Voice' called it "not merely ham-fisted, but pork-shouldered, bacon-wristed and sausage-elbowed".

'The Guardian' added that "as proof of corporate insanity, it is a valuable case study".

The movie's budget was estimated at between $25m-$32m (€22-€28m), with FIFA said to have put up about three-quarters of the money. It debuted in the US on Friday, on just 10 screens. According to 'The Hollywood Reporter', the FilmBar cinema in Phoenix reported takings of just $9, meaning only one person bought a ticket.

Its release came as FIFA faces an investigation into allegations of corruption during the bidding process to host the 2010 World Cup.

The US Department of Justice has indicted a total of 14 current and former FIFA officials and associates on charges of "rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted" corruption following a major inquiry by the FBI.

'United Passions' purports to present the history of FIFA through three leaders, and co-stars Sam Neill as Blatter's predecessor, Joao Havelange, and Gerard Depardieu, who plays Fifa founder Jules Rimet.

Depardieu was the only actor who attended the film's world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014.

Irish Independent

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