Rami Malek and Fox hit a high note with “Bohemian Rhapsody,” drawing $3.9 million in Thursday night showings as it stays on track for a $40 million box office bow.
For comparison, Warner Bros.’s critical and commercial hit “A Star is Born” earned $3.2 million in early Thursday showings on its way to a $42.9 million opening weekend. “Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again” hit theaters with $3.4 million in early previews, pulling in $35.0 million in its first weekend for Universal. Independent trackers are looking for “Bohemian Rhapsody” to open to the tune of $35-$40 million.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” has been heavily criticized for its series of events and its effectiveness as a biopic for Queen front-man Freddie Mercury.
The film has a 59 percent score on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, and critics have panned the film’s screenplay for leaning on biopic cliches and heavily altering the history of the famed British rock band, while failing to reveal anything insightful about them.
Malek’s portrayal of Mercury, however, has been praised by critics, even earning some Oscar contention buzz that Fox will surely want to ride into awards season.
“Bohemian Rhapsody,” which was produced by GK Films’ Graham King, had a long and often tumultuous road through development and production. New Regency helped c0-produce and co-finance the project.
The film was directed by Bryan Singer before he was fired from the set in December amid reports of unprofessional behavior and on-set clashes with star Rami Malek. Singer later said Fox fired him because he wanted to take a break to care for an ailing parent.
Dexter Fletcher (“Eddie the Eagle”) finished the film after Singer left. Anthony McCarten, who earned Oscar nominations as producer and writer for “The Theory of Everything” and “Darkest Hour,” wrote the screenplay.
Disney’s “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” opened its theatrical run with just $625,000 at the box office on Thursday. Trackers expect the Christmas film to open in the low $20 million, coming out just two days after Halloween.
By comparison, Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time” earned $1.3 million at the Thursday box office earlier this year before debuting to $33.1 million. And “Alice Through the Looking Glass” pulled in $1.5 million in early previews back in 2016 before disappointing with a $26.9 million opening weekend.
The film, which has a 33 percent Rotten Tomatoes score, stars Mackenzie Foy (“Intersteller”) as Clara, a girl who receives a key to a priceless Christmas gift from her godfather Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman). But the key disappears into a magical world where, with the help of a soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), Clara must retrieve the key and save the land’s three peaceful realms from the dark Fourth Realm and its ruler, Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren).
Lasse Hallstrom directed the film, with reshoots directed by Joe Johnston and a screenplay by Ashleigh Powell and Tom McCarthy. Keira Knightley, Misty Copeland, Eugenio Derbez and Richard E. Grant also star.
The last wide release for the weekend, Tyler Perry’s “Nobody’s Fool,” pulled in $600,000 at the Thursday box office. Trackers expect the Tiffany Haddish-led film to open between $12-$14 million.
For comparison, Perry’s “Acrimony,” starring Taraji P. Henson, earned $1 million in its Thursday showings and $17.2 million across its opening weekend Lionsgate. Another of the year’s R-rated comedies “Blockers” pulled in $1.5 million in early showings before raking in $20.6 million in its debut weekend for Universal. And Lionsgates “Uncle Drew,” which also starred Tiffany Haddish, earned $1.1 million in Thursday showings and $15.2 million in its opening weekend.
Written and directed by Perry, “Nobody’s Fool” stars Haddish as a woman recently released from prison who reunited with her sister (Tika Sumpter) and discovers that she is in an online relationship with a man who might not exist. Whoopi Goldberg stars as the sisters’ mother, with Omari Hardwick also starring.
Also releasing this weekend in a limited number of theaters is the Lucas Hedges-led “Boy Erased” from Universal’s Focus Features, and Rosamund Pike’s “A Private War.”