Just 2 People Turn Up as Self-Funded FIFA Movie Makes Hollywood Debut

Sean Fay@@Sean_FayUK Staff WriterJune 6, 2015

FILE - This is a Sunday, May 18, 2014 file photo of  FIFA President Sepp Blatter, right, and actor Gerard Depardieu as they pose for photographers as they arrive for the screening of The Homesman at the 67th international film festival, Cannes, southern France. Funded with $27 million of FIFA money, the movie “United Passions” is acquiring almost mythical status in football circles. Mythical in the sense that the film, which was shown at the Zurich Film Festival on Sunday, has not been seen by many, and its relationship to documentary truth about FIFA’s troubled recent history is loose. In industry circles, “United Passions” would easily be defined as a box office flop _ even with star power from Gerard Depardieu, Sam Neill and Tim Roth. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)
Alastair Grant/Associated Press

The self-funded FIFA movie United Passions looks like it is going to be a huge flop in the United States.

The film tells the history of FIFA, with Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction star Tim Roth taking the role of Sepp Blatter. 

However, in the wake of the scandals that have rocked the association, it seems there is little appetite for this sanitised telling of the FIFA story.

The film was released in just one theatre in the whole of Los Angeles and even then, the first screening was virtually empty.

As Daina Beth Solomon of Reuters noted:

At the first screening of FIFA-funded film "United Passions" in Los Angeles the week after U.S. prosecutors charged several officials of world soccer's governing body, only two people attended - one out of curiosity, the other as a soccer fan.

The 2014 French film, starring British actor Tim Roth as FIFA president Sepp Blatter, had an estimated budget of 24 million euros ($27 million), of which FIFA officials have acknowledged providing about 20 million euros.

Solomon also noted some of the reviews of the film, with the New York Times calling it "one of the most unwatchable films in recent memory" and the Guardian describing it as "excrement."

And those who have seen it don't appear to rate it either—users of online film database IMDb had, at the time of writing on June 16, ranked it the 27th worst film of all time.

IMDb Screengrab

It didn't get better. After a weekend release in which the film screened in 10 cinemas across the United States, the Hollywood Reporter wrote that it had taken just $607:

Writer-director Frederic Auburtin's film beyond bombed in its limited debut in 10 theaters, earning a measly $607 on Friday and Saturday, according to those with access to Rentrak figures. The FilmBar theater in downtown Phoenix reported a gross of just $9, meaning only one person bought a ticket to see United Passions, which details the history of the now-embattled FIFA.

In the aftermath of both the box-office flop and the FIFA controversy, director Frederic Aburtin has distanced himself from the theatrical debacle. 

He went so far as to tell The Hollywood Reporter (h/t The Guardian) that it was a "disaster." 

"Now I'm seen as bad as the guy who brought AIDS to Africa or the guy who caused the financial crisis," he said. "My name is all over (this mess) and apparently I am a propaganda guy making films for corrupt people." 

Aburtin also said FIFA originally wanted to call the film "Men of Legend" and then "The Dreammakers." 

The fallout from the failed flick continued, with the movie being confirmed as the lowest-grossing film in United States box office history. 

It netted $918 in 10 cinemas. 


We are not going to lie: We kind of want to see it now.

[Reuters

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