'Bohemian Rhapsody' manages to rock box offices, if not critics

By AFP
Published: November 5, 2018
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PHOTO: ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

PHOTO: ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

LOS ANGELES: Proving again that audiences matter more than critics, Fox’s Freddy Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody rocked North American box offices this weekend with a solid $50 million take, industry tracker Exhibitor Relations reported Sunday.

The film’s unexpectedly strong launch put it well ahead of Disney’s new The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, at $20 million, and Paramount’s Nobody’s Fool, with $14 million in estimated ticket sales for the three-day weekend.

PHOTO: ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

PHOTO: ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

Rhapsody, with Egyptian-American actor Rami Malek starring as the charismatic Mercury, thus logged one of the best openings ever for a music biopic.

The movie has received decidedly mixed reviews, however. The website Vox dismissed it “a crashingly dull movie about … one of the least drab humans who ever lived,” while the Washington Post called it a “bad movie that works, even when it shouldn’t.” But Malek, a Primetime Emmy winner for his role in TV’s Mr Robot, has won mostly high praise.

While Fox essentially paid the $50 million production cost of Rhapsody with the film’s opening-weekend take, Disney was not faring as well with Nutcracker, which cost $125 million to make. The studio hopes the classic Christmas tale will hold on through the holidays, Variety said.

PHOTO: ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

PHOTO: ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

But like the Freddy Mercury biopic, the Keira Knightley film got some less-than-glowing reviews. Tchaikovsky, said Rolling Stone, “is rolling in his grave.”

Nor did Nobody’s Fool, Tyler Perry’s first R-rated comedy, do much better on the critic’s couch, with Hollywood Reporter deploring its “clumsy, misshapen script.” It stars the popular Tiffany Haddish as a newly paroled woman who tries to help her sister get revenge on a man who deceived her.

In fourth place, Warner Bros’ A Star Is Born earned a solid $11.1 million in its fifth week out. Bradley Cooper, in his directorial debut, plays a hard-drinking musician who has a star-crossed love affair with a talented young singer (Lady Gaga).

PHOTO: ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

PHOTO: ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

Not far behind in fifth was Universal’s Halloween, at $11 million.

The low-budget horror film has Laurie Strode (played again by Jamie Lee Curtis) in a final confrontation with a masked homicidal maniac decades after she survived his first killing spree.

Rounding out the weekend’s top 10 were:

Venom ($7.9 million)

Smallfoot ($3.8 million)

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween ($3.7 million)

Hunter Killer ($3.5 million)

The Hate U Give ($3.4 million)

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