Elsewhere, Tyler Perry’s first R-rated comedy ‘Nobody’s Fool,’ starring Tiffany Haddish, opens in third place.
Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody is a box-office champion, soaring to a $50 million launch in North America, the second biggest start of all time for a music biopic behind Straight Outta Compton ($60.2 million), even when adjusted for inflation.
Overseas, it rocked to $72.5 million for a weekend take of $122.5 million and early total of $141.7 million.
The better-than-expected performance of the film — starring Rami Malek as legendary frontman Freddie Mercury — is a fitting swan song for 20th Century Fox as it releases the final titles on its slate before disappearing as a standalone major Hollywood studio and being absorbed by new owner Disney. New Regency co-financed the $52 million biopic, with Graham King producing. Fox was in sore need of a high-profiile release; Bohemian Rhapsody is its biggest domestic opening outside of Deadpool 2 in more than a year.
As fate would have it, Disney suffered a major miss over the weekend as the big-budget The Nutcracker and the Four Realms bombed with $20 million in the U.S. after costing $125 million to produce. It is Disney’s lowest nationwide debut in more than two years, excluding nature docs. Disney, which commands more than 30 percent of 2018 marketshare, can certainly weather the loss, and will finish the year with high-profile pics Ralph Breaks the Internet and Mary Poppins Returns.
Nutcracker placed No. 2, followed by Tyler Perry’s Nobody’s Fool, starring Tiffany Haddish. From Paramount, Perry’s first R-rated comedy turned in $14 million, one of the lowest openings of his prolific career.
Both Nutcracker and Nobody’s Fool drew withering reviews, or a 34 percent and 25 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, respectively. Bohemian Rhapsody certainly wasn’t entirely embraced by critics, but it managed to easily rock past its so-so Rotten Tomatoes score of 60 percent and become a crowd-pleaser.
Bohemian Rhapsody, chronicling the rise of the iconic 1970s British rock band Queen, is the latest music-infused pic to prosper. It came in ahead of the recent $42.9 million domestic debut of A Star Is Born, which has earned north of $165 million domestically to date.
The film also survived plenty of drama during its journey to the big screen. Toward the end of production, helmer Bryan Singer was fired. Singer, who retains sole directing credit, was replaced by Dexter Fletcher. Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Aidan Gillen, Tom Hollander, Allen Leech and Mike Myers co-star. Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor, who still tour, were closely involved.
Nearly three decades after Mercury’s death, Bohemian Rhapsody succeeded in drawing moviegoers of all ages. Among ticket buyers, 43 percent were ages 18-34, while 52 percent were 35 and older. The gender split was nearly even (51 percent female, 49 percent male).
Fox distribution chief Chris Aronson isn’t surprised. “I think it speaks to the universality and appeal of Queen‘s music across the generations,” he says. “And I’m incredibly happy for Graham [King]. He fought for this movie for more than 10 years.”
Disney’s family-friendly, Christmas-themed Nutcracker, an adaptation of the iconic ballet and short story about a girl whose nutcracker doll comes to life, also suffered a troubled production.
Lasse Hallstrom directed Nutcracker, although Joe Johnston was brought aboard to oversee major reshoots late last year (Johnston shares a directing credit). Keira Knightley, Mackenzie Foy, Eugenio Derbez, Matthew Macfayden, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren star. American Ballet Theater ballerina Misty Copeland makes her big-screen debut.
Nutcracker fared better overseas, earning $38.5 million from its first 45 markets for a global start of $58.5 million.
“We were obviously looking for a stronger start,” says Disney distribution chief Cathleen Taff. “The Nutcracker is a holiday tradition for many, and we’ll see how the film plays out the next several weeks.”
From Paramount, Nobody’s Fool stars Tiffany Haddish as a recent parolee who tries to help her sister seek revenge on the man who bilked her. Tika Sumpter, Omari Hardwick, Mehcad Brooks, Amber Riley and Whoopi Goldberg co-star in Perry’s film.
Holdover A Star Is Born, from Warner Bros., followed in fourth place with $11.1 million for worldwide total approaching $300 million ($293.9 million).
Universal and Blumhouse’s Halloween rounded out the top five with $11 million in its third weekend for a sensational domestic total of $150.4 million through Sunday. Internationally, it grossed $18.3 million for a foreign tally of $79.2 million and $229.6 million.
Among other weekend contenders, Venom finished Sunday with a global tally of more than $541 million.
At the specialty box office, Focus Features’ awards contender Boy Erased, the gay conversion drama starring Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe, posted the best screen average of the weekend in its debut on five screens, or roughly $44,000.
A Private War, starring Rosamund Pike, opened in opened in four theaters for an estimated screen average of $17,000-$18,000.
Sony Pictures Classics launched documentary Maria by Callas, about famed opera diva Maria Callas, in four U.S. cinemas, reporting a screen average of $12,723.
Bodied, a rap contest comedy produced by Eminem, chose a somewhat larger footprint, or 14 screens. The film, released by Neon, reported a screen average of $3,609. The film is a multi-platform release with an accelerated YouTube window.
Internationally, A Star is Born also continued its strong global performance this weekend, adding another $13.9 million this weekend for an international running cume totaling $128.3 million and a global tally just shy of $295 million.
Rounding out the top five is Universal’s Halloween, which dropped a bit more than expected as it entered its third week in release, delivering an estimated $11 million three-day for a domestic cume that now tops $150 million. Including an additional $18.3 million internationally this weekend, the film’s worldwide cume now totals just shy of $230 million.
Just outside the top five, it’s worth mentioning Venom‘s strong fifth weekend hold, dropping just 26.3% for an estimated $7.85 million weekend and a domestic cume of $198.6 million as it will cross the $200 million mark later this week. Added to that, the film grosses an estimated $15.6 million internationally this weekend for a global cume that now stands at $541.5 million with a release in China set for next weekend.
Outside the top ten, Amazon Studios expanded the release of Beautiful Boy into 540 theaters (+348) and grossed an estimated $1.4 million, pushing the film’s domestic cume to $3.2 million. The studio currently anticipates expanding Beautiful Boy a bit further into approximately 300 additional locations next weekend.
Amazon also expanded the reach of Suspiria into 311 theaters (+309) this weekend, leading to an estimated $964,722 weekend and a domestic cume totaling $1.2 million as it enters its second weekend in release. The film isn’t expected to expand any further next weekend, calling into question why Amazon didn’t begin Suspiria‘s limited release a week earlier and go wider in advance of Halloween, if not on Halloween night, in an attempt to take advantage of the holiday timeframe. The film was always going to largely appeal to a niche audience, but a wider release over the holiday could have helped generate some additional word of mouth.
In limited release this weekend, Focus Features’s Boy Erased brought in an estimated $220,000 from just five locations for a chart-topping $44,000 per theater average. The Joel Edgerton-directed feature will expand its reach next weekend into 75 theaters in 25 markets. Additionally, Sony Classics released Maria by Callas into 16 theaters for an estimated $152,633 ($9,540 PTA); Aviron’s A Private War debuted in four locations with an estimated $72,000 ($18,000 PTA); Neon’s release of Bodied delivered $50,528 from 14 theaters ($3,609 PTA); and Art of Sport’s In Search of Greatness debuted in 16 locations with an estimated $35,000 ($2,188 PTA).
On a final note, Disney’s Incredibles 2 added another $1.9 million globally this weekend, pushing the film’s worldwide gross to $1.238 billion, making it the 15th largest global release of all-time.
Next weekend sees the release of Universal and Illumination’s Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch in over 4,000 locations along with Sony’s second attempt at the Dragon Tattoo series with The Girl in the Spider’s Web in ~3,000 theaters, and Paramount’s well-reviewed Overlord debuting in approximately 2,500 locations.