Infotainment

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ defies expectations

Nov 5 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 11/5/2018 12:19:42 PM IST

 Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” and 20th Century Fox are — for now, at least — champions of the world.

“Bohemian Rhapsody,” starring Rami Malek as the late Queen frontman, shrugged off production troubles and mediocre reviews to debut with $50 million in weekend ticket sales in U.S. and Canada, and another $72.5 million internationally, according to studio estimates Sunday. That was well beyond expectations, which had pegged the film closer to $35-40 million in its opening weekend.

But audiences rushed to theaters to see the widely praised performance by Malek, the “Mr. Robot” star, and to hear Queen’s foot-stomping anthems like “We are the Champions,” ‘’Another One Bites the Dust” and the operatic title song. The movie, which Bryan Singer directed before being replaced by Dexter Fletcher, at times has an almost concert-like feel, including a lengthy re-creation of the band’s 1985 Live Aid performance.

“It really is a celebration of Queen and their music, and I think we did a really good job of letting people know that that’s what this is,” said Chris Aronson, distribution chief for Fox.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” was largely dismissed by critics as an overly conventional rock biopic (60 percent “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes), but the film proved more popular with moviegoers, who gave the PG-13 release, produced by Graham King, an A CinemaScore and 4 1/2 stars out of five on Comscore’s PostTrak survey.

“Even in the negativity that came out of critics, there was always a ‘but,’ almost universally: ‘But Rami is great,’” noted Aronson. “I’m very happy for Graham and Rami and the entire filmmaking team. And I’m happy for the home team. This is a big win for Fox.”

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore, praised Fox’s rollout of the film as “pitch perfect.” Dergarabedian also cited Malek’s breakout big-screen performance and the sustained interest in all things musical at the box office. Musically based films have lately been major draws in theaters, from Fox’s own “The Greatest Showman” earlier in the year to Warner Bros.’ Oscar favorite “A Star Is Born,” which collected another $11.1 million in its fifth weekend for $165.6 million overall.

“It seems that audiences can’t get enough of movies that have music baked into their DNA,” Dergarabedian said. “That’s proving to be a very successful formula.”

Another winning formula — Tiffany Haddish plus anything — came up short over the weekend.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. 

1. “Bohemian Rhapsody,” $50 million ($72.5 million international).

2. “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” $20 million ($38.5 million international).

3. “Nobody’s Fool,” $14 million.

4. “A Star Is Born,” $11.1 million.

5. “Halloween,” $11 million.

6. “Venom,” $7.9 million.

7. “Smallfoot,” $3.8 million.

8. “Goosebumps 2,” $3.7 million.

9. “Hunter Killer,” $3.5 million.

10. The Hate U Give,” $3.4 million.            (BBC)

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