Steven Soderbergh’s look at the tempestuous secret love affair between Liberace and his onstage driver hit some high notes for HBO on Sunday. Helmed by the Oscar-winning director, Behind The Candelabra was watched by 2.4 million viewers on Sunday at 9 PM. That’s the most viewers an HBO original movie premiere has garnered since 2.6 million watched Something The Lord Made on May 30, 2004. Candelabra also did considerably better than HBO’s last biopic, on record producer Phil Spector. Starring Al Pacino and Helen Mirren, the film about Spector’s first trial for the 2003 death of actress Lana Clarkson pulled in 754,000 viewers in its 9 PM airing on March 24. Overall, Phil Spector had 1.039 million viewers over two plays on March 24. Across two plays Sunday, Candelabra had a total of 3.5 million viewers watching the 9 PM and 11 PM broadcasts.
Based on Scott Thorson’s 1988 memoir, the heavily promoted Candelabra stars Michael Douglas as the gilded piano player and Matt Damon as the much younger Thorson. Dan Aykroyd, Scott Bakula and Rob Lowe co-starred in the two-hour biopic. Also in competition at Cannes this year, Candelabra was written by Fisher King scribe Richard LaGravenese and executive produced by Jerry Weintraub. The film will be released theatrically in the UK next month.