Written by Dapo Olowu
Well, they did say they would rock us.
As U.S. cinemagoers gear up for the release of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, it’s easy to forget the other 2 new films in ‘The Nutcracker’ and ‘Nobody’s Fool’ wanting to ‘break free’ from the musical biopic’s shadow. Still, ‘the show must go on’, and ‘BR’ is destined to be the ‘killer queen’ out of a bunch of ‘under pressure’ releases.
‘Don’t stop me now’ readers, the puns are out in full force, as are Rami Malek and co. in 20th Century Fox’s latest offering. Such is the anticipation that its rotten 58% on the Tomatometer will merely dent its opening gross – a gross that has steadily risen over the past month.
A recent Fandango report claims that ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’s presales outstrip that of ‘Mamma Mia 2’ and ‘A Star is Born’, two high-earning musicals released this year. Considering ‘MM2’, the sequel to one of the biggest musicals of all time, opened to $35m, and ‘A Star is Born’ earned $43m in its first 3 days, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’s gross could be truly massive.
To be specific, we’re predicting $45m, which could even rise as the weekend draws close. This isn’t surprising considering the film’s production has been on industry lips since 2010. Back then, it was ‘Borat’ star Sacha Baron Cohen cast as Freddie Mercury, although creative differences led to his departure. After Ben Whishaw (don’t ask) replaced him and then too quickly left, the film was batted around for a while until Fox fast-tracked it last year, with Malek as the lead.
On-set troubles with director Bryan Singer, including an ‘unexpected unavailability’, led to his firing the replacement, Dexter Fletcher, to complete the last few weeks of production. Still, it’s been rather smooth sailing in the aftermath, as negative PR’s been kept to a minimum (Singer’s even still got the directing credit). With a budget of $52m, the film, also starring Lucy Boynton, Aiden Gillen, Tom Hollander, and Mike Myers, should have 0 problems proclaiming ‘We Are The Champions’ by Sunday night.
If ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’s a success, then ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ is a Disney disaster. It won’t be for the first time this year either, what with ‘Solo’ and ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ (maybe even add ‘Christopher Robin’ in there too). What makes ‘The Nutcracker’ so interesting, however, is the fact its release directly follows those in a similar mould. In the last month alone we’ve seen ‘Goosebumps 2’ and ‘The House with a Clock in its Walls’ two (albeit horror) PG fantasy films which have opened around the $20m mark.
Throw in the aforementioned ‘AWiT’, alongside ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ and ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ from recent memory all grossing similar amounts in their first 3 days, and a $21m opening was almost destined for Disney’s latest release. On a medium-sized budget, this wouldn’t be the worst situation to be in, but Disney spent an eye-watering $130m+ producing this bomb, which will struggle to remain in the top ten in a few weeks.
The critical reception doesn’t help its case either; its 35% on Rotten Tomatoes makes this Disney’s worst-rated film since last summer’s ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 5’. Like the Pirates franchise, ‘The Nutcracker’ stars Kiera Knightley, as well as MacKenzie Foy, Morgan Freeman, Jack Whitehall, and Miranda Hart. It follows the story of ‘The Nutcracker and the Mouse King’ from 1816 about a young girl who finds a magical Nutcracker doll. Oh how Disney could do with some magic in the Box Office right about now.
The final release of the weekend is Tyler Perry’s ‘Nobody’s Fool’. Released by Paramount, this $19m-budgeted comedy stars Tika Sumpter, Tiffany Haddish, and Whoopi Goldberg, and follows Tanya (Haddish) potentially being catfished in an online relationship.
If its premise doesn’t drastically differentiate itself from the rest of this weekend’s releases, its R-rating surely does, and by having the smallest of the 3 films’ cinema counts with just 2,400, its doomed to be the lowest earner of the newbies this weekend.
However, a flop it is not. Being the first Tyler Perry movie in nearly forever not to have his name in the title doesn’t change the fact that since 2007, just one of his 16 films (yes, 16) has opened under $15m. Love him or loathe him, he’s got an audience, as does Haddish, so we see this one starting solidly with $14m.
Three new films but only one is the victor. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ looks to top the charts with some ease, but will it really beat ‘A Star is Born’s $42.9m opening? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.