Last week, 20th Century Fox debuted their new Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody. The new film features Rami Malek, the award-winning Mr. Robot actor, as Freddie Mercury, as well as Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Aiden Gillen, Tom Hollander, and Mike Myers. After years of anticipation, fans of Queen and Freddie Mercury finally got the chance to experience the band’s iconic story in theaters—and the response was huge. The musical biopic brought in $50 million on its opening weekend in North America, plus an additional $72 million internationally.
As Billboard points out, “Bohemian Rhapsody boasts the second-largest start of all time for a music biopic even when adjusted for inflation — only trailing behind N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton at $60.2 million.”
As a recent press release describes the storyline of the film:
Bohemian Rhapsody is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury, who defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. The film traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound, their near-implosion as Mercury’s lifestyle spirals out of control, and their triumphant reunion on the eve of Live Aid, where Mercury, facing a life-threatening illness, leads the band in one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music. In the process, cementing the legacy of a band that were always more like a family, and who continue to inspire outsiders, dreamers and music lovers to this day.
However, the biopic’s success didn’t come easily. As Billboard notes,
Rhapsody’s astounding performance at the box office comes after a tumultuous period leading up to the film’s release, including criticism that the film erased Mercury’s queer identity, production that came to a screeching halt late last year and accusations of sexual assault and improper on-set conduct leveled against the film’s original director, Bryan Singer — who was replaced mid-production.
Still, there’s plenty to celebrate. The release of Bohemian Rhapsody has also revived interest in the iconic rock band’s music. Sales of its soundtrack have given Queen its 17th Top 40 album on the Billboard 200 with 24,000 equivalent album units earned — 12,000 of which were through traditional album sales. The music video for “Bohemian Rhapsody” also drew more interest leading up to the film, averaging 1 million views per day last week on top of the over 670 million it had already accumulated.
Bohemian Rhapsody – Official Teaser Trailer
[Video: 20th Century Fox]