Why Bad Reviews Won’t Stop ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ From Topping the Box Office
Queen's long-awaited movie Bohemian Rhapsody is expected to be a success at the box office when it opens on Friday. Experts are projecting it will gross approximately $35-40 million this weekend, even though reviews haven't been kind to the picture.
Deadline is reporting that, among movie musicals, Bohemian Rhapsody has bested A Star Is Born and Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, in terms of recent advance ticket sales. A Star Is Born opened with a $42.9 million weekend and is expected to gross around $200 million, while Mamma Mia 2 began with $34.9 million and pulled in $120.6 million.
Interest in Bohemian Rhapsody is particularly high. In a poll of 1,000 people at Fandango, 94 percent said they were fans of the band, and 93 percent were interested in seeing how Rami Malek plays Freddie Mercury on the big screen. Seventy percent said they enjoyed movie musicals in general.
All of these projections arrive as advance reviews from critics continue to pan the film. It's currently showing a 56 percent score at Rotten Tomatoes. The New York Times' A.O. Scott slammed the movie in his review, calling it a "Lego palace of cliches" that "conveys only a superficial, suspect sense of what [Queen] was." More positive reviews focus on Malek's performance and the recreation of concert sequences.
Still, bad reviews don't necessarily mean as much as they used to. As Paul Dergarabedian of comScore told The Wrap, “For a while, critics and audiences have been on the same page, but with Venom and possibly now with Bohemian Rhapsody, we may be seeing regular moviegoers reaching a different consensus than the reviews. It’s the critics’ job to look closer at things like the script’s historical accuracy, but we’ve seen time and time again that accuracy isn’t really a deal-breaker for moviegoers. If the film delivers the excitement of going to a Queen concert, it’s going to do well."