FIFA's dubious reputation has spread from its executive offices and into the annals of Hollywood infamy.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, FIFA's widely castigated film "United Passions" set a box-office record for biggest flop in American movie history. The magazine calculated that the $29-million feature film made just $918 while appearing in 10 theaters nationwide the weekend of June 6 before being pulled by its distributor.
By the Hollywood Reporter's estimates, the $918 total is the lowest amount for any movie in the United States released in 10 through 15 theaters. The 2012 vampire rock musical "I Kissed a Vampire" had the previous record low of $1,380.
Prior to its U.S. release, the FIFA-financed "United Passions" made $178,000 worldwide over the past year, according to Bloomberg.
French director Frederic Auburtin lamented his role in the film, telling the magazine he was trying to avoid having it turn into a "Disney propaganda film." He also said he is being labeled as "a propaganda guy making films for corrupt people."
The film received a host of negative reviews prior to its U.S. release, which came a week after 14 individuals with ties to FIFA were indicted on federal corruption charges.
The Times' Michael Rechtshaffen wrote that the movie "comes across as a squirm-inducing heap of propaganda at its most self-congratulatory." The New York Times wrote: "'United Passions' is one of the most unwatchable films in recent memory, a dishonest bit of corporate-suite sanitizing that’s no good even for laughs."
In the wake of the movie bombing and ongoing U.S. and Swiss corruption investigations into soccer's governing body, Auburtin feels people are unfairly associating him with FIFA's problems.
"I'm a victim of the game. It's a disaster, but that is not the point, I accepted the job," Auburtin said. "I was not paid to be the Che Guevara of the sports business.... Please don't make me the guy responsible for the fact that FIFA is rotten."