Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh wanted his “final” film (at least that’s what he’s saying now) to be a major theatrical release. And it was – at Cannes. However, since he couldn’t get a studio to pay for and release “Behind the Candelabra”, Soderbergh took the project to HBO – with spectacular results.
Ratings for Sunday night’s premiere airing of the Liberace bio-pic are tremendous: 2.4 million viewers for the first showing (the biggest audience for an original HBO film since 2004) and another 1.1 for the repeat showing that same night. The performances by Michael Douglas and Matt Damon (and the rest of the cast) are fantastic. The story drags a little in the second hour but considering the star power in front of and behind the camera there’s no doubt this is a big screen-worthy film.
But even though he was forced to go to HBO to get “Candelabra” made, it seems like Soderbergh is getting the last laugh. He had previously said he was leaving movies to make TV shows, so if that turns out to be true, then he gets to go-out with a film that’s become one of the biggest hits in the history of TV’s #1 movie channel. And it likely pick-up multiple Emmy Awards as well. What better way for Soderbergh to announce that he’s ready to bring quality projects to TV on a full-time basis.
By the way, if you’d like something to remember the “Theatrical Movie” Soderbergh by, he’s auctioning-off a lot of his personal memorabilia, including scripts, clothing and even a clapboard from “Erin Brockovitch”. Go to the director’s website: extension765.com/auction to get in on the fun.
So far I haven’t seen any candelabras up for bid.