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With the Women’s World Cup in full swing, and the recent Sepp Blatter controversy making headlines across the world, FIFA, the governing body of international soccer, has been all over the place lately. All that attention had little to no impact at the box office, however, as the FIFA origins drama United Passions became the lowest-grossing film in U.S. history.
Just how bad did United Passions tank? Well, according to The Hollywood Reporter, on ten screens over the course of the June 6 weekend, it managed to earn $918. This puts it ahead of, or behind depending on your perspective, such non-notable movies at I Kissed A Vampire and Last Flight of the Champion, which we haven’t heard of either. Those films, a rock musical based on a web series and a terribly animated space adventure, earned $1380 and $1493 respectively during their theatrical campaigns.
FIFA put up 90% of the budget for the movie, which falls somewhere between $25 and $32 million, and is described as "self-congratulatory." They even managed to score some notable onscreen talent, including Tim Roth, Sam Neill, and Gérard Depardieu, though that apparently didn’t do them any good in the end. The film is performing better in Russia, where it has earned $158,000, but it doesn’t have distribution in many other regions, and went straight to home video in France.
The story of the film traces the origins of FIFA, and it probably didn’t help matters that the theatrical release coincided with the recent scandal where many of the key players in the organization, which has been widely criticized as being corrupt, especially in regards to deciding where the World Cup will be played, were arrested on charges of, you guessed it, corruption. In the midst of all of this controversy, FIFA President Sepp Blatter, a central character in the film, played by Tim Roth, was embroiled in all of this, managed to be elected to a fifth term in his position, and shortly after resigned in disgrace.
By all accounts, the real life drama unfolding on the nightly news was way more interesting than anything in United Passions, which apparently features none of the decades worth of reports and speculation about corruption. Roth reportedly asked the filmmakers where all of that was in the script. Not only was the film a financial disaster, it was brutalized by critics as well, who not only tore into what is, by all accounts, a terrible film, but also found humor in the almost too-perfect timing of the release.