Madrid is to host the most lavish premiere in Spanish cinemahistory this week featuring the city's footballing megastars, known as galacticos.

Real The Movie is the first official film featuringplayers from the Real Madrid football team.

The project made a huge splash when it was unveiled atCannes last May and organisers expect an ecstatic reception for stars,including David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane

The premiere will be held at the club's Bernabeu stadium onThursday night.

"I don't think there's ever been a premiere of thismagnitude in Spain," says Luis Manso of Peliculas Pendelton, co-producer of thepicture with Huckleberry Films and Realmadrid TV.

"It is without a doubt the most expensive," he adds of theestimated $428,000 budget set aside by the club and producers.

Some 3,000 invitees will enjoy hors d'oeuvres and an openingmusical act before viewing the movie on a giant inflatable screen inhi-definition via a special projector imported from the UK. (The film shot inHD but will screen on 35mm in theatres.)

Realmadrid TVwill broadcast the event live, with a simultaneous English voiceover for itsnew international channel, while local network Telemadrid is planning a specialprogramme.

Likewise, the Borja Manso-directed film blends cinema andsports as five fictional stories from around the world overlap with documentaryfootage of the team's coveted players.

The theatrical premiere will be somewhat less ostentatious:Sogepaq opens Real The Movie on Friday through Warner Sogefilms on a relativelymodest 105 prints, with the idea to grow that number if opening weekend goeswell.

"We want to make the film available but exclusive so it isan event film seen on quality big screens," said Sogepaq head of production andinternational Simon de Santiago. "We are hopeful. It is a good weekend becauseit's the start of league and football fans are hungry for the new season andnew material."