According to Variety, 20th Century Fox's QUEEN biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody" is on track to sell an estimated $50 million in tickets at 4,000 theaters in the U.S. and Canada this weekend, and another $72.5 million internationally, far exceeding expectations. That will set the mark for the second-best opening for a music biopic in North America, following 2015's "Straight Outta Compton" ($60.2 million).
The long-gestating movie, starring "Mr. Robot"'s Rami Malek as QUEEN lead singer Freddie Mercury, has been pegged for closer to $35 million to $40 million in the U.S. and Canada in its opening weekend.
"Bohemian Rhapsody" opened with $12.5 million in the U.K. last weekend, one of the country's largest 2018 debuts. New Regency co-financed the $52 million biopic, with Graham King producing.
While many reviews have slammed the film for its uninspired storytelling, some people have also taken issue with the movie's depiction of Mercury's sexuality — or rather, its lack thereof. The biopic focuses heavily on the relationship between him and the rock star's former fiancée Mary Austin, who discovers midway through the film that he's cheating on her with other men.
"Bohemian Rhapsody" traces the meteoric rise of QUEEN through its iconic songs and revolutionary sound, its near-implosion as Mercury's lifestyle spirals out of control, and its 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.
According to Screen Rant, Sacha Baron Cohen and Ben Whishaw were set to play Freddie Mercury at different stages in the movie's development, prior to Malek's casting. Cohen's vision for the film was reportedly very "adult" in tone and clashed with what the surviving members of QUEEN had in mind, leading to the actor's departure.
"Bohemian Rhapsody" began production with "X-Men" director Bryan Singer behind the camera, but the filmmaker was fired from the movie after he disappeared from set and caused production delays. Dexter Fletcher, best known for making "Eddie the Eagle", stepped in to replace Singer in the director's chair.