“The money could also pay, several times over, to have natural grass surfaces put in six Canadian stadiums for the world’s best female players.”
So begins an absolutely-scathing review of FIFA’s $27 million movie which, by IMDB.com’s rating standards, is about as good as “I Know Who Killed Me”, slightly better than “Gigli” and miles worse than “Waterworld”.
That’s before including the horrible takeaway from box office receipts for “United Passions”, the FIFA-funded film that claims to detail the history of soccer’s international governing body.
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Despite costing in the neighborhood of $27 million, the movie has been seen by very few people.
In Switzerland, the “premiere” saw 120 people buy tickets at nearly $23 a pop (?!?!) in a 500 capacity theater. Only seven countries have shown the film in theaters, with Associated Press reporting that revenues are currently somewhere between $150,000-200,000.
Or a deficit of $26.8 million, give or take.
[The film] 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.
But even in a World Cup year, a film telling the governing body’s historical story is a tough sell when it carries the toxic tag “The FIFA Movie.”
Suspicion it is a vanity project with script approval for President Sepp Blatter, portrayed by Academy Award-nominated Roth, is fueled by on-screen lines like one spoken in 1998, soon after his first election in what was widely reported as a ballot bought by some of his supporters.
“The slightest breach of ethics will be severely punished,” Roth-as-Blatter tells FIFA marketing executives.
I’m imploring you to read Graham Dunbar’s report on the film, which would make The Onion proud despite being a factual report. It’s a wonderful read, from its reported revenues in Portugal (less than $7,000) and Serbia (less than $3,000) to lines like this:
“I’m taking up football. No more watches,” says the fictional Blatter, who in reality has yet to explain what he did with his $26,000 watch presented by the Brazilian federation to football officials at the World Cup.
Awesome. Just awesome. I’m going to find Dunbar on Twitter and immediately follow him.