LONDON — Icon Entertainment Intl. is backing a feature documentary about Manchester United, the world’s richest soccer club.
American sports doc director Bob Potter is helming the movie, which follows England’s most successful team through the current season, which runs from last August to May. The film is scheduled for world premiere in October in Manchester.
Potter’s company Bombo Sports & Entertainment will co-produce the film with Icon’s Bruce Davey and Ralph Kamp. It marks another attempt by the film industry to cash in on the huge global following for soccer, and for Manchester United in particular.
“Best,” Mary McGuckian’s biopic of the club’s most famous past player George Best, will be released in U.K. theaters this summer. Working Title Films is prepping “Busby’s Babes,” about the airplane crash that wiped out the exceptional Manchester United squad of the 1950s, and other versions of that same story are also in the works.
Failing to score
Yet soccer has a vexed track record at the box office — recent Brit pics such as “Fever Pitch” and “The Match” died on their theatrical release. Such is the B.O. stigma attached to the game that FilmFour is changing the title of its upcoming Mark Herman comedy “Season Ticket,” to avoid any soccer connotations.
Nonetheless, Manchester United, the current European champions and the world’s richest club, has a huge global fan base. It is also a club which excites passionate aversion in supporters of rival teams.
The doc, provisionally titled “Manchester United the Movie,” will follow the team to the world club championships in Tokyo and Rio De Janeiro, as well as tracking its performance in the English and European competitions.