Michael Douglas masquerading as aging, blinged-out celebrity pianist Liberace, and Matt Damon as his lover Scott Thorson, lured 2.4 million viewers to HBO on Sunday night at 9. That’s the pay-cable net’s biggest crowd for an original movie unveiling in nearly a decade.
And at 11 p.m., when HBO ran “Behind the Candelabra” all over again, an additional 1.1 million tuned in.
“ ‘Behind the Candelabra’ performs grandly,” the network boasted when the numbers came in Tuesday on the made-for-TV movie, directed by Steven Soderbergh.
“Candelabra” ran ratings circles around HBO’s most recent biopic, “Phil Spector,” in which Al Pacino played the be-wigged weirdsmobile record producer, who was convicted of second-degree murder after actress Lana Clarkson turned up dead in his house in 2003.
Only 754,000 caught the “Spector” opening; an additional 290,000-ish watched the rerun on opening night.
“Candelabra” is based on Thorson’s settling-the-score book about his relationship and break-up with the wildly popular entertainer, “Behind the Candelabra: My Life With Liberace.”
“Behind the Candelabra” snared HBO’s best original-movie opening stats since its May ’04 launch of “Something the Lord Made” (2.6 million viewers).