There are rock songs, and then there is "Bohemian Rhapsody." Written in 1975 as part of Queen’s seminal Night At The Opera, it was famous for being the most expensive single ever created. It topped the charts twice in the UK, once in 1976 upon release and then again in 1991 after Mercury’s death, and the was revived in America in 1992 when it was featured in Wayne’s World. Naturally, it is also the name of the new Queen biopic in theaters at the end of the month. But the Bohemian Rhapsody ratings suggest though the song was a hit, the movie will never reach the same heights.
Bohemian Rhapsody had a lot of behind the scenes drama. Originally conceived as a Freddie Mercury biopic starring Sacha Baron Cohen in the early part of the decade, the film struggled to get off the ground, with rumors the surviving members of Queen wanted to be the actual focus of the movie instead of Mercury. Once the film did get off the ground, there were issues with the director, Brian Singer, who was fired from the film partway through production after he stopped showing up for work.
With odds stacked against it, it’s therefore sad, but ultimately not surprising the resulting film did not impress critics. It currently stands at a sodden 51 percent splat on Rotten Tomatoes.
According to USA Today, the film is just too run of the mill for an artist and an oeuvre like this one.
But many critics, including Awards Circuit, are quick to state leading man Rami Malek is not to blame.
Variety sums it up well:
As for how the film is expected to do on arrival, long-range forecasts on Box Office Pro expect the film will pull in a respectable $25 – $40 million when it arrives just after Halloween, which is about average for a biopic carrying awards season hopes.
Viewers will have to overlook the reviews, but as with comic book movies, there will be a hardcore fandom for whom a film like this is critic-proof.
Bohemian Rhapsody opens nationwide on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018.
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