‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ A Killer Queen at the Box Office

The year-end holiday box office got underway this weekend with the rockin’ arrival of Fox’s Bohemian Rhapsody. The musical drama about the rock band Queen sent thunderbolts and lightning in the direction of fellow newcomers The Nutcracker and the Four Realms and Nobody’s Fool, both which stumbled out of the gate.

Without a Marvel blockbuster to kick off the year-end business, the top ten this weekend dipped 22% from one year ago at this time when Thor: Ragnarok arrived with $122 million. It was also down 29% from 2016 when Doctor Strange conjured up $85 million in its domestic debut.

It’s been a long, troubled road to bring Bohemian Rhapsody to the big screen. The biopic about the legendary rock band Queen and its lead singer Freddie Mercury is a project that has been trying to reach theaters for the better part of a decade. At one point, Borat star Sacha Baron Cohen was set to star in the film as Mercury with director Stephen Frears calling the shots.

With Cohen and Frears departing the project -the former due to creative differences-, Rhapsody eventually wound up in the hands of X-Men helmer Bryan Singer while Mr. Robot star Rami Malek landed the coveted role of Mercury. But the project’s difficulties didn’t end there. With only a few weeks left of shooting at the end of 2017, Fox fired Singer from the production. Dexter Fletcher stepped in to finish the film, which opened here in the States this past weekend. Judging by the $50 million scored in its first three days from 4,000 screens, it appears in the end that all the trouble was worth it.

While the critics were decidedly mixed on the PG-13 rated Bohemian Rhapsody–the film scored a 60% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 49/100 on Metacritic-, the opening weekend crowds were more than fine with what they saw. They gave the film an “A” on CinemaScore, which is the same grade another popular musical drama of late received: A Star Is Born. Whether Bohemian enjoys the same box office longevity and success as the Lady Gaga flick has remains to be seen. It will, however, provide Fox with its latest $100 million box office hit before long.

Overseas, Bohemian Rhapsody scored $72 million from 64 markets. With last week’s numbers from its U.K. run factored in, Rhapsody has pulled in a regal $92 million so far.

The stronger-than-expected start for Bohemian Rhapsody certainly had an impact on Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. The expensive fantasy opened in second place with an underwhelming $20 million from 3,766 theaters, a lowly amount given the film’s $120 million price tag. Directed by Lasse Hallstrom and Joe Johnston –the latter coming in for a month’s worth of reshoots-, Four Realms became the Mouse House’s third big-budget bomb of 2018 following A Wrinkle In Time and Solo: A Star Wars Story.

A chorus of boos from the nation’s critics did little to help The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ box office chances. The PG-rated family feature earned a dire 34% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 38/100 from Metacritic. Opening weekend viewers were kinder to the film. They gave Four Realms a “B+” on CinemaScore. Yet, even with the backing of the public, the future is not looking good for the film. With The Grinch, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and Disney’s own Ralph Breaks the Internet looming on the horizon, it’s doubtful that The Nutcracker and the Four Realms will last until Thanksgiving, much less Christmas.

Overseas, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms scored an estimated $38 million.

Filmmaker Tyler Perry recently revealed in an interview that he is ready to kill off his alter ego –and box office cash cow- Madea in an upcoming film. Given that his latest non-Madea feature, the Paramount comedy Nobody’s Fool, opened in third place this weekend with a weak $14 million from 2,468 theaters, he might want to hold off on killing his golden goose.

Whether it was the unfunny trailers, the fourth film to feature Tiffany Haddish in a starring role this year alone or the simple fact that Nobody’s Fool was a Tyler Perry film, few were interested in checking this out. The critics sure weren’t, but have they ever been interested in a Tyler Perry feature? Fool scored a 25% approval on Rotten Tomatoes and a 39/100 from Metacritic. Ticket buyers gave the R-Rated Paramount release an “A-” on CinemaScore.

Warner’s A Star Is Born still had plenty of life left in it as its fifth weekend on 3,431 screens produced an estimated $11.1 million. Down only 21% from the previous round, Star has banked a fantastic $165.6 million to date. Next stop domestically: the $200 million club by month’s end. Internationally, A Star Is Born has pulled in $128 million.

With the Halloween holiday out of the way, Universal’s Halloween fell from first to fifth place in its third weekend. Dropping 65% in its third weekend on 3,775 screens, Halloween scared up an estimated $11 million. After three weeks, Halloween has earned a bloody good $150.4 million. A final between $165-170 million is in the cards for the $10 million production. Foreign totals stand at $79.2 million.

  1.  Venom (2018) $7.85 million (-28%); $199 million
  2.  Smallfoot (Warner) $3.8 million (-20%); $78 million
  3.  Goosebumps 2 (Sony) $3.7 million (-49%); $43.8 million
  4.  Hunter Killer (Lionsgate) $3.5 million (-47%); $13 million
  5.  The Hate U Give (Fox) $3.4 million (-33%); $23.4 million

Next weekend sees the arrival of Universal’s The Grinch, Sony’s The Girl in the Spider’s Web and Paramount’s Overlord. The Grinch should easily win the weekend, followed by a tight race for second place between Girl in the Spider’s Web and Bohemian Rhapsody.



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