Why Manchester United players are promoting the Revenant

Leonardo DiCaprio’s new film has been getting a lot of love from Man Utd players on Twitter, but there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Peter Iantorno January 18, 2016

Manchester United haven’t played like much of a team so far this season, however last week, for the first time since manager Louis Van Gaal took charge, the entire squad finally seemed to agree on something.

Was it some new tactics? A clever set-piece routine? Or perhaps even a new footballing philosophy? Well, no. Strangely, the thing that finally had the United players singing off the same hymn sheet was, in fact, Leonardo DiCaprio’s new film, The Revenant.

It all started on Tuesday, when United central defender Chris Smalling tweeted, “Can’t wait to see @RevenantMovie.” OK, you might think, nothing especially unusual there. However, a couple of days later his teammate Memphis Depay also saw fit to share his excitement for the film, adding, “This @RevenantMovie looks good.”

While two Manchester United players both tweeting about the same film could conceivably be a coincidence, what followed rather gave the game away that maybe there was more to this The Revenant-Man Utd love in than first meets the eye.

Morgan Schneiderlin, Matteo Darmian, Ashley Young and Juan Mata all shared their universal praise for the film. “It looks great, can’t wait to watch it @RevenantMovie @LeoDiCaprio,” tweeted diminutive Spaniard Mata.

Then followed former United players and current ambassadors Bryan Robson and Andy Cole, who both sent out similar tweets to the current squad members sharing their enthusiasm for the film.

It didn’t take long for Twitter users to twig that all these messages of support for the film were a long way from being genuine, and sure enough, when pressed by local newspaper Manchester Evening News, the club confirmed that it had, in fact, entered into an agreement with film studio 20th Century Fox, which is distributing The Revenant.

While the partnership was never formally announced, it included the club playing the studio’s famous theme music prior to kick-off at Old Trafford as well as some prominent positioning on the stadium’s advertising boards during the team's recent FA Cup match against Sheffield United.

While this will undoubtedly bring some bad press to both the club and the film, for what it’s worth, we were pretty impressed by The Revenant – so impressed, in fact, that we reckon it might just be enough for Leonardo DiCaprio to snag that long-awaited Oscar.

Manchester United’s title chances, on the other hand, look rather less promising.