After a long and at times tumultuous journey to the big screen, the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody is finally here and its ready to rock the box office. Like your friend who was listening to a band before it was cool, audiences beat the weekend rush to see Bohemian Rhapsody at preview screenings last night, where the film jammed out to $3.9 million.
The preview screenings for the film started at 7 p.m. Thursday night at 3,260 theaters, and set Bohemian Rhapsody up for a big weekend at the box office. The $3.9 million haul was especially impressive, considering that Halloween was on Wednesday and most of the movies in theaters saw their numbers dip on Thursday– as audiences were presumably recovering from the holiday.
As noted by Deadline in its box office report, Bohemian Rhapsody‘s $3.9 million opening night surpasses two of this year’s other successful music films, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, which made $3.4 million and A Star is Born, which made $3.2 million (although the latter had Wednesday sneak previews which pushed the total up to $4.55 million).
Those two films both found success opening weekend, with Mamma Mia 2 debuting with $34.95 million and A Star is Born rocking out to $42.9 million. Bohemian Rhapsody was tracking in the mid $30 millions range, but the movie’s Thursday night performance and the Friday numbers have necessitated a revision to that forecast.
Bohemian Rhapsody is now looking at an opening weekend between $43 million and $45 million, after what is should be a Friday in the neighborhood of $18 million. So Bohemian Rhapsody and 20th Century Fox should be singing “We Are The Champions” when the weekend is done with a first place win at the box office, and the film well on its way to making back its $55 million budget.
While critics haven’t been particularly gushing about the film, although it is now teetering on the side of fresh at 60% on Rotten Tomatoes, audiences are finding a lot to like with Bohemian Rhapsody, which should help with its legs at the box office throughout the weekend and beyond.
The thing about classic rock like the music of Queen is that it is classic for a reason. The songs are timeless, as familiar now as they were decades ago, and that’s drawing in audiences of all ages, not just those that were alive when Queen was at its height in the 70s and 80s.
Another story that is arguably timeless given its many retellings in various mediums throughout the years is that of The Nutcracker. However Disney’s latest retelling, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is not bringing in audiences in quite the same way as Bohemian Rhapsody.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, which has been largely savaged by critics, made $625,000 opening night and is looking at a $20 million to $23 million opening weekend. That might not be too bad if the holiday film didn’t cost $120 million to make, and to its credit, every bit of that comes through in the lavish images onscreen.