65°F
weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Not a fantasy: ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ scores big at box office

NEW YORK — The 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.

In soaring to No. 1, the Fox release trounced one from Disney, which will soon own the studio. Despite a production budget of $125 million, the Walt Disney Co.’s lavish, big-budget “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” opened with just $20 million. Disney is set to merge with Fox in the coming months, effectively ending the 103-year-old Fox, one of Hollywood’s six major studios.

“We were hoping for a stronger start, but we do think it’s a film that people will find as we head into the holidays,” said Cathleen Taff, head of theatrical distribution for Disney.

Though Disney’s record of success is the envy of Hollywood, “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” marks the studio’s third misfire this year following the underperforming “A Wrinkle in Time” and “Solo.” The studio’s CGI-stuffed resurrection of the E.T.A. Hoffmann story was positioned as an early holiday season release, but flopped with critics (34 percent “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes) and sparked only modest interest from audiences. It grossed $38.5 million overseas.

Smashing debut

“Bohemian Rhapsody,” made for $52 million, 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 audience 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.”

Other films struggle

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

“Nobody’s Fool,” which paired Haddish with another box-office force in writer-director-producer Tyler Perry, opened in third with a so-so $14 million. While far from disastrous for a movie that cost $19 million to make, the muted performance of “Nobody’s Fool” seemed likely a result of oversaturation. Two films starring Haddish — “Night School” and “The Oath” — have opened in the past six weeks, and “Night School” is still No. 12 at the box office.

In limited release, Joel Edgerton’s acclaimed gay conversion therapy drama “Boy Erased,” starring Lucas Hedges, opened with a strong per-theater average of $44,000 in five theaters.

Matthew Heineman’s “A Private War,” starring Rosamund Pike as war correspondent Marie Colvin, opened in four theaters with a per-theater average of $18,000.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday also are included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

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 ($265,000 international).

4. “A Star Is Born,” $11.1 million ($13.9 million international).

5. “Halloween,” $11 million ($18.3 million international).

6. “Venom,” $7.9 million ($15.6 million international).

7. “Smallfoot,” $3.8 million ($12.1 million international).

8. “Goosebumps 2,” $3.7 million ($9 million international).

9. “Hunter Killer,” $3.5 million ($3.3 million international).

10. “The Hate U Give,” $3.4 million.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Smith & Wollensky opens at The Venetian
After 18 years, the Smith & Wollensky location on Las Vegas’ south Strip closed in 2017, to be re-born two years later with a rib-cutting — instead of a ribbon-cutting — in The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Colin Cantwell, Creator Of Iconic Star Wars Ships Visits Vegas
Colin Cantwell, who created and designed such "Star Wars" ships as the X-Wing fighter, and Death Star, met fans at Rogue Toys in Las Vegas today. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Beauty & Essex in Las Vegas makes an EDC Wonder Wheel
In honor of the Electric Daisy Carnival, Beauty & Essex at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas makes its Wonder Wheel party-worthy. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Giada talks Vegas Uncork’d
Giada De Laurentiis talks during Aperitivo Hour, a Vegas Uncork'd event, at her Caesars Palace restaurant, Pronto, May 10, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Scenes from Vegas Uncork’d 2019 on the Las Vegas Strip
The 13th edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit brought four days of food, wine, celebrity chefs and parties to town, May 9-12. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three ingredients Gordon Ramsay can’t live without
Bon Appetit's Andy Baraghani interviews the "Hell's Kitchen" chef during a Vegas Uncork'd event at Caesars Palace, May 11, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Uncork’d launches wiith bubbles and a blade
Dozens of chefs representing some of the Strip’s top restaurants gathered Thursday at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas to launch the 2019 edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bunky the Clown at the clown convention
Bob "Bunky the Clown" Gretton talks about his life as a clown and the Clown Convention which was in Las Vegas at Texas Station this week. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Frying soft-shell crab at Lola’s in Las Vegas
At Lola’s: A Louisiana Kitchen in Las Vegas, soft-shell crab is breaded and fried and served either as an appetizer, po’boy or platter. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
The Stove in Henderson makes Pecan Pie Pancakes
At The Stove in Henderson, chef/partner Antonio Nunez stacks buttermilk pancakes with pecans and dulce de leche and tops them pie crust crumbs. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vinnie Paul remembered at Count's Vamp'd
The late rocker's favorite table at one of his favorite clubs in Las Vegas. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
4DX movie experience at Red Rock
4DX movie experience during a demo reel at Red Rock. (Christopher Lawrence/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What To Do On May The 4th
There are plenty of events going on May the 4th this year around Las Vegas. Celebrate Star Wars and Comic Book Day all at once. The Rogue Toys, the 501st, Rebel Legion and Millennium Fandom Bar are all hosting fun events to help celebrate your geek-dom. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Water Sports Introduces New Attraction At Lake Las Vegas
Las Vegas Water Sports will debut its new aqua park attraction at Lake Las Vegas Days this weekend. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Making the Space Invader at Greene St. Kitchen in Las Vegas
Lysa Huerta, pastry cook at Greene St. Kitchen at the Palms in Las Vegas, starts with angel food cake, Fruity Pebbles ice cream and strawberry sorbet to create a space creature engulfed in flashing lights and swirling mists. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Pools
The M, Park MGM and NoMad are just a few great pools in Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jose Andres explains Iberico pork
(Al Mancini/Las Vega Review-Journal)
Inside Life is Beautiful
Craig Asher Nyman explains how Life is Beautiful festival is booked and talks about this year's line-up. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America Pops Up In Vegas
Tattoo'd America, a new pop-up attraction on the Linq Promenade, had their grand opening Friday. The attraction is dedicate to the culture of tattoos. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Jose Andres gets key to the Strip
Chef Jose Andres was presented with a Key to the Las Vegas Strip and a proclamation declaring April 26 Jose Andres Day in Clark County by County Commissioner Tick Segerblom on Friday. The ceremony took place at his restaurant Bazaar Meat in the SLS Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sadelle’s in Las Vegas makes a grilled cheese with an inverted bagel
Michael Vargas, executive sous chef at Sadelle’s at Bellagio in Las Vegas, inverts an everything bagel and grills it with Swiss, cheddar and Muenster cheeses to make the Inverted Bagel Grilled Cheese. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures
Kassandra Lopez at Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Prime rib is carved tableside at Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Las Vegas
Dave Simmons, executive chef of Lawry’s The Prime in Las Vegas, which plans special cuts for National Prime Rib Day, demonstrates the restaurant’s service from rolling tableside carving carts. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making gluten-free pizza at Good Pie in Las Vegas
Good Pie owner/pizzaiola Vincent Rotolo makes his gluten-free pizza.
Rockabilly fans enjoy Las Vegas weather poolside
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender runs Thursday, April 18th through Sunday, April 21st with a huge car show on Saturday featuring The Reverend Horton Heat, The Delta Bombers and The Coasters. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Brownie sundae at VegeNation in Las Vegas is completely vegan
Donald Lemperle, chef/owner of VegeNation in Las Vegas and nearby Henderson, NV, makes his sundae with ice cream made with coconut and almond milks, a brownie made with coconut flour and oil and organic sugar and cacao, and fresh fruit. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Taste of the Town: Henderson Booze District
Those who like to support local businesses and sample local products will find the best concentration in an unlikely spot: a Henderson industrial park.
Founder of Las Vegas theater talks about a favorite play
Ann Marie Pereth, founder of A Public Fit Theatre Company, speaks to the Review-Journal about which play she would see every day if only given one option. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
‘John Wick 3’ dethrones ‘Avengers: Endgame’ at weekend box office

The box office has a new king and his name is John Wick. The third installment of the hyper violent KeanuReeves franchise has taken the top spot at the North American box office and ended the three-week reign of “Avengers:Endgame.”

Mexican wrestler dies during London match; starred in ‘Nacho Libre’

A well-known Mexican wrestler who co-starred in the film comedy “Nacho Libre” died in London after he collapsed during a match that a witness described as so elaborately staged it wasn’t immediately clear something seriously was wrong.

Tim Conway dies; actor, comedian was 85

Tim Conway, the impish second banana to Carol Burnett who won four Emmy Awards on her TV variety show, has died at age 85.