Sometimes, just sometimes, a troubled production doesn’t necessarily spell doom for a film. Case in point — “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Despite on-set conflicts, including director Bryan Singer throwing electrical equipment while in an argument with star Rami Malek that led to the director’s eventual dismissal, the Freddie Mercury/Queen biopic not only was well-received by moviegoers this week, but it exceeded all expectations, securing an easy box office win.
Debuting at #1 this weekend, “Bohemian Rhapsody” conquered all with an estimated $50 million 3-day total. Many analysts were thought to be bullish on the film when they predicted somewhere between $35 to $40 million before the film’s release. However, as Queen has proven throughout the band’s illustrious career, you can never count out Freddie Mercury and the boys.
Not even mixed reviews (the film has a 60% on Rotten Tomatoes, which seems mighty generous considering our review) could keep audiences away from ‘Rhapsody.’ In fact, audiences ate up Malek’s Mercury, giving the film a great ‘A’ CinemaScore. Much like musical drama “A Star is Born,” it appears that “Bohemian Rhapsody” will be yet another breakout rock film this fall. It doesn’t hurt when your film features hit after hit that audiences can’t help but love. Once again, Queen rules the charts.
Another major debut this weekend came from Disney, and for once, the Mouse House is showing its not completely without its faults. “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” the action-adventure retelling of the classic tale featuring stars Keira Knightley, Morgan Freeman, Mackenzie Foy, and Helen Mirren, debuted at #2 with a disappointing $20 million in its first weekend. Normally $20 million wouldn’t be deemed disappointing, but ‘Nutcracker’ carries a budget reportedly over $120 million. So, it appears that Disney is going to need a strong international showing for the film to make up its sizeable budget. Perhaps, the studio would have fared better had it included a Queen song or two?
Sure, you can chalk the low box office debut to “Bohemian Rhapsody” stealing the thunder this weekend, combined with a surprisingly deep crop of films in the theaters, but honestly, ‘Nutcracker’ probably suffered from that age-old problem of just not being very good. As of this writing, the film carries a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 34%, putting it behind such incredible (*wink wink*) films as “Hunter Killer” (36% RT) and “Hell Fest” (40% RT). Audiences seemed to be okay with ‘Nutcracker,’ albeit not over the moon, with a ‘B+’ CinemaScore. We’ll just have to see how the film holds up in the weeks to come.
The last major debut this weekend came from perennial hitmaker Tyler Perry, who has made a career out of modestly budgeted films earning a hefty profit. The filmmaker’s latest, “Nobody’s Fool,” has the added benefit of starring one of the hottest stars in the world, Tiffany Haddish. That being said, ‘Fool’ didn’t have such a great opening, as compared to other Perry and Haddish films. Debuting at #3, “Nobody’s Fool” earned an estimated $14 million over its first weekend. That being said, as mentioned, Perry’s film only carries a $19 million budget, so there’s nothing stopping it from becoming profitable for Paramount. It just won’t be the massive hit that names like Tyler Perry and Tiffany Haddish are capable of delivering.
Speaking of massive hits, this is where we talk about “Halloween” and “A Star is Born.” First, let’s see how Michael Myers fared in his first post-Halloween weekend. Dropping to #5 the microbudget reboot-quel pulled in a respectable $11 million in its third weekend. With a domestic total of $150 million, there’s no soul on the planet that would say “Halloween” is anything less than a monumental success for Blumhouse and filmmaker David Gordon Green.
Bradley Cooper is also a happy camper, as his directorial debut “A Star is Born” earned another $11.1 million in its fifth weekend, good for #4. When you talk “box office legs,” ‘Star’ is the type of film you point to. The film now has earned more than $165 million domestically, which should easily eclipse $200 million in the coming weeks, as Lady Gaga and Cooper are showing no signs of slowing down, even with prestige drama competition debuting weekly.
As for those films still in limited release, 2018’s per-theater-average leader “Suspiria” held pretty well as it expanded to over 300 theaters, earning $964,722 over the three-day weekend. This weekend saw the very limited release of “Boy Erased” and “A Private War,” both doing respectable box office. The Joel Edgerton drama “Boy Erased” won the per-theater-average crown this weekend, earning $44,000 per theater in only 5 locations. “A Private War,” starring Rosamund Pike, showed in 4 locations, earning $18,000 per theater. Not too shabby.
Next week sees the release of some serious competition in the forms of “Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch,” “The Girl in the Spider’s Web,” and “Overlord” all opening in wide release. Also, we’ll see the continued expansion of films like “Suspiria,” “Boy Erased,” “A Private War,” and others as awards season is truly kicking into gear. Oh, and as a true tease, don’t forget that in the coming weeks, we have ‘Fantastic Beasts 2,’ “Widows,” “Creed 2,” “Robin Hood,” and “Wreck-It Ralph 2” all debuting by November 21.
Here’s the full top 10 for November 2 to 4:
1. Bohemian Rhapsody — $50M (Debut)
2. Nutcracker and the Four Realms — $20M (Debut)
3. Nobody’s Fool — $14M (Debut)
4. A Star is Born — $11.1M ($165M)
5. Halloween — $11M ($150.4M Overall)
6. Venom — $7.5M ($198.3M)
7. Smallfoot — $3.8M ($77M)
8. Goosebumps 2 — $3.7M ($44M)
9. Hunter Killer — $3.5M ($13M)
10. The Hate U Give — $3.4M ($23.5M)