The film which began production in 2013 and finished earlier this year is yet to find a distributor despite being pitched to major distributors at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. This can be attributed to any number of reasons.
First, there’s the issue of acceptability. According to a report in the Hollywood Reporter, a European distributor who saw the film in Cannes described it as “too art house for mainstream audiences and not mainstream enough to play multiplexes in Europe.”
On the other hand, there’s the fact that the World Cup is past and the next one isn’t due for another three years. The 2014 World Cup in Brazil was supposed to have acted as a means of free advert for the film and also take advantage of the general excitement surrounding the beautiful game, especially seeing how the global event was taking place in Pele’s home country of Brazil. But the Mundial is past now, and coupled with the recent FIFA bribery scandal, not a lot of interest in going into football as a whole for now.
In truth, it was always going to be difficult to sell a football themed movie. Except maybe Bend it Like Beckham which was released in 2003, no other movie based purely on football has done very well.
The Pele biopic was co-written and co-directed by brothers, Michael and Jeff Zimbalist and produced by Brian Grazer. The film has been described as a coming of age story that follows the rise of Pele from a boy in Brazil to a global star.
If eventually the movie gets released, it is one I’ll love to see.