‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Exceeds Expectations with $50 Million Opening Weekend
Following years of drama behind the scenes, the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody far exceeded expectations by earning $50 million on opening weekend. Experts had projected it would "only" grab $35-40 million.
That earns it the No. 2 spot all-time for music biopic opening weekends, coming in behind only 2015's Straight Outta Compton, which took in $60.2 million. To boot, the much talked about country music drama, A Star Is Born — which features music written by stars Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, as well as Jason Isbell and Lukas Nelson — opened with $42 million.
Bohemian Rhapsody has to date grossed another $91 million in other markets, for a $141 worldwide total. This is all despite reviews that have been mixed, at best. Though critics have nearly universally praised Rami Malek for his portrayal of frontman Freddie Mercury, the film was panned in many mainstream publications.
Comparing the film to the song from which it gets its name, the New York Times' A.O. Scott notes that the beloved song clocked in at a what was considered a very lengthy six-minutes on its release in 1975.
"Bohemian Rhapsody, the movie about Queen, lasts more than two hours, not a very long time by modern feature standards, even though it feels interminable," he writes. "A baroque blend of gibberish, mysticism and melodrama, the film seems engineered to be as unmemorable as possible, with the exception of the prosthetic teeth worn by the lead actor, Rami Malek, who plays Freddie Mercury, Queen’s lead singer. Those choppers may give you nightmares. And some of you who venture into the theater will surely be inspired to exclaim 'Mama mia, let me go!'"
The Hollywood Reporter bottom lines it, saying "The full-blast music says it all; the drama's too often on mute."
However, on review sites like Rotten Tomatoes, fans are telling a different story. 95 percent of viewers have liked Bohemian Rhapsody so far, giving it an average score of 4.6 out 5. Overall, their message was to ignore the critics.
Several of them suggested critics may be taking the film too seriously. "I think the reviewers are getting this one wrong. Was it a cinematic masterpiece? No. Did it stretch some truth here and there? Maybe, I really don't know or care," Peter20%B wrote in his Rotten Tomatoes review. "All I do know is that it was super fun and entertaining and made me love Queen even more. And that performance by the lead actor is jaw-dropping. He truly became Freddie down to every little mannerism or stage move. Truly amazing."
While some viewers criticized the film for not offering greater insight into Mercury and his life, others were just happy to see his work celebrated. "Critics truly get caught up in wanting the movie to take a bold stance on Freddie's life when the truth his he kept it a mystery," Sean M. wrote. "The movie was respectful of what was fact without speculating too much into the unknown."