HBO’s Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra lit up the network’s ratings Sunday night.
The Steven Soderbergh film delivered 2.4 million viewers in its first airing, making it the most-watched HBO Film title in almost a decade (since 2004’s Something the Lord Made). Across two Sunday plays, Candelabra totaled 3.5 million viewers. The performance is especially impressive coming on Memorial Day weekend, when TV viewing levels typically decline several percent. Compare Candelabra’s performance to HBO’s previous recent record-settter Game Change, which had 2.1 million viewers for its Saturday night debut last year.
Candelabra stars Michael Douglas as the Vegas legend and Matt Damon as his young lover Scott Thorson, whose memoir of their rocky five-year relationship served as the basis for the film. Candelabra garnered very positive reviews (EW posted two takes, one that was mixed and another from Cannes that was enthusiastic).
The film aired instead of HBO’s Game of Thrones, which will resume this weekend. Candelabra premiered just before the deadline for this year’s Emmy consideration; the film will almost certainly be a strong contender in the long-form categories.