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Even bad publicity is usually good publicity — except in the case of the FIFA-financed film United Passions, which was quickly red-carded at the U.S. box office this weekend.
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.
Full weekend numbers weren’t immediately available. The movie also debuted on VOD, but rental and sales figures were likewise not available.
The timing of United Passions‘ debut in the U.S. couldn’t have been more ironic, coming just days after FIFA president Sepp Blatter was finally forced to resign in the wake of the indictment of 14 soccer officials on corruption charges.
On Friday, United Passions grossed just $319 from 10 theaters in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Phoenix, Kansas City, Miami, Minneapolis, Houston, Dallas and Philadelphia, followed by an even worse $288 on Saturday. The top-performing theater, as it were, was Laemmle’s NoHo 7 in North Hollywood ($164), followed by the Shirlington 7 in Hagerstown outside of Washington, D.C. ($161). New York City’s Cinema Village 3 reported $112 in ticket sales.
Tim Roth plays Blatter in United Passions, while Sam Neill portrays Blatter’s predecessor, Joao Havelange. Only Gerard Depardieu, who plays FIFA founder Jules Rimet and helped put the film together, showed up for the film’s world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014.
The movie’s budget is estimated at between $25 million to $32 million, with FIFA said to have put up about three-quarters of the money.
In his review, The Hollywood Reporter‘s Frank Scheck concluded, “Even without the cloud of the recent disturbing developments, United Passions is a cringeworthy, self-aggrandizing affair that mainly benefits from its unintentional camp value.”
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Sir Anthony Hopkins