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.
“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. Vox.com 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.
But like “Rhapsody,” 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 HollywoodReporter.com 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.’s “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).
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)