‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Is the Box Office Champion With $51 Million Opening

Fox’s awards contender earns great start, while Disney’s “Nutcracker and the Four Realms” collapses

Last Updated: November 4, 2018 @ 9:25 AM

Fox’s awards contender “Bohemian Rhapsody” is gonna have itself a real good time at the box office, earning a better-than-expected $51.1 million opening from 4,000 screens this weekend. It’s the second biggest opening for a music biopic behind only the $60 million start of 2015’s “Straight Outta Compton.”

With a $52 million budget and an awards campaign waiting in the wings for lead star Rami Malek, this biopic about the legendary band Queen won over rock fans with Malek’s performance as Freddy Mercury and its exciting concert sequences, earning an A on CinemaScore. This success is despite more tepid reviews from critics who were left cold by the film’s script and gave the film mixed reviews with a 60 percent Rotten Tomatoes score.

Now that strong word-of-mouth has been earned, “Bohemian Rhapsody” has the chance to leg out all the way through November. The biggest releases for the rest of the month are family films like “Fantastic Beasts” and “The Grinch,” meaning that “Bohemian” will stand in many movie theaters as the most prominent offering for adult audiences for much of this month.

It’s a much needed boost to Fox’s box office fortunes in its final year prior to merging with Disney, as the studio’s 2018 domestic grosses haven’t hit $1 billion yet with 35 percent of the year’s grosses coming from “Deadpool 2.” Globally, “Bohemian Rhapsody” has earned an opening of $141 million, with $10 million coming from IMAX screens.

Disney, meanwhile, just got served its worst domestic opening in two years with “Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” which opened to just $20 million domestic from 3,766 screens and $58.5 million worldwide against a $130 million budget. It’s the weakest start for Disney outside of its DisneyNature documentaries since the $18 million start for “The BFG.” “Nutcracker” earned a B+ on CinemaScore and a weak 35 percent Rotten Tomatoes score.

For the most part, 2018 has largely been a year of feast or famine for Disney, scoring several astronomical hits with some big disappointments mixed in. In between the runaway success of “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” the studio released the $103 million “A Wrinkle in Time,” which only made $132 million worldwide.

Then, after “Avengers,” “Solo: A Star Wars Story” shocked number-crunchers by making a franchise-worst $392.8 million worldwide, only for “Incredibles 2” to allow Disney to rebound weeks later with $1.23 billion grossed. Disney will look to rebound yet again with “Ralph Breaks the Internet” this Thanksgiving, with projections expecting a $65 million opening.

In third is Paramount’s “Nobody’s Fool,” which is one of the worst openings in director Tyler Perry’s career with an estimated $13.7 million from 2,468 screens. The R-rated comedy scored just 24 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, but was characteristically strong with Perry’s fans, as it earned an A- on CinemaScore. With a $19 million budget, the film should stay out of the red.

Completing the top five are Warner Bros.’ “A Star Is Born” and Universal’s “Halloween,” each grossing $11 million this weekend. “A Star Is Born” has a $165 million domestic total, while “Halloween” is now the second-best Blumhouse release of all-time with $150 million. “Get Out” holds the studio record with $176 million.