It seems like Hollywood has been talking about a Queen biopic for close to a decade. From the time when Sasha Baron Cohen was set to play Freddie Mercury to when director Bryan Singer was fired with just weeks of production left, the film definitely had a rocky journey to the big screen. But, it all proved to be worth it this past weekend, when Bohemian Rhapsody opened in theaters and dominated the weekend box office with the second best start for a music biopic in history.
The top opening weekend honor goes to Straight Outta Compton, the 2015 film focused on the story of N.W.A. which opened to $60.2 million but Bohemian Rhapsody wasn’t all that far off. After making an estimated $18.8 million on Friday, the film finished up the weekend at $50 million and proved the United States still has an appreciation for rock ‘n’ roll biopics. It’s not much of a surprise that the Queen drama had a better opening weekend than Walk The Line, Ray, Selena and many other classic films, though there wasn’t a ton of competition in theaters. With Halloween behind us, the film with the same title continued to dip, finishing with just $11 million while The Nutcracker and the Four Realms opened to just $20 million well before the Christmas season. Other notable films included A Star Is Born at $11.1 million and Nobody’s Fool at $14 million.
Bohemian Rhapsody also grossed $141 million worldwide, not surprising given Queen hailed from the United Kingdom and the band’s impact on much of Europe.
The film, which stars relatively unknown Rami Malek, is a much-needed hit for 20th Century Fox, with the standalone studio’s merger with Disney looming. Not only is it among the company’s top ten highest openings for a non-franchise film, it’s the biggest since Marvel’s Deadpool 2 earned $130 million in North America when it was released six months ago. And it might only be the beginning for the biopic, since much of November’s releases focus more on family films, like Ralph Breaks the Internet, The Grinch and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, so it could kind of corner the market. It did just blow Disney’s new Nutcrakcer film, a huge budget blockbuster, out of the water.
I guess we will just have to wait for the Rolling Stone’s biopic, because it’s now inevitable.