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Bohemian Rhapsody is US champion with $50 million but Disney's Nutcracker bombs

Bohemian Rhapsody

Story by Jack Foley

QUEEN biopic Bohemian Rhapsody proved to be a champion draw at the US box office by soaring to a $50 million in its opening weekend – the second biggest start of all time for a music biopic behind Straight Outta Compton ($60.2 million), even when adjusted for inflation.

The film, which has also now rocked to $72.5 million overseas, enjoyed a healthy global weekend take of $122.5 million and early total of $141.7 million.

The film stars Rami Malek as legendary frontman Freddie Mercury and traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound, their near-implosion as Mercury’s lifestyle spirals out of control, and their triumphant reunion on the eve of Live Aid.

Ironically, it marks one of Twentieth Century Fox’s biggest successes of recent times, outside of the Deadpool franchise, just as the company is preparing to be absorbed by Disney, its new owner.

Ironically, Disney suffered a major misfire over the same weekend as its big-budget take on The Nutcracker & The Four Realms bombed with $20 million in the US, against production costs of $125 million.

The figure marks Disney’s lowest nationwide debut in more than two years, excluding nature documentaries – not that the company has too much to worry about given the superhero successes it has already enjoyed this year with Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Incredibles 2 and Ant-Man & The Wasp, plus the fact that it still has Ralph Breaks The Internet and Mary Poppins Returns on the way.

The Nutcracker is an adaptation of the iconic ballet and short story about a girl whose nutcracker doll comes to life. It boasts a star-studded cast, including Keira Knightley, Mackenzie Foy, Eugenio Derbez, Matthew Macfayden, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren.

But it also suffered a troubled production – most notably a series of re-shoots late last year that saw Disney turn to Joe Johnston rather than original director Lasse Hallstrom to complete.

The Nutcracker placed second, followed by Tyler Perry’s Nobody’s Fool, starring Tiffany Haddish. The film, which marks Perry’s first R-rated comedy, took an estimated $14 million, one of the lowest openings of his prolific career.

The story follows Tiffany Haddish’s recent parolee as she tries to help her sister seek revenge on the man who bilked her.

Perhaps not surprisingly, both The Nutcracker and Nobody’s Fool suffered from poor reviews.

Overseas, The Nutcracker did fare a little better, earning $38.5 million from its first 45 markets for a global start of $58.5 million.

Disney distribution chief Cathleen Taff commented: “We were obviously looking for a stronger start. The Nutcracker is a holiday tradition for many, and we’ll see how the film plays out the next several weeks.”

Elsewhere in the US, Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born placed fourth with $11.1 million for worldwide total approaching $300 million ($293.9 million). The film, co-starring Lady Gaga, is a major success for the first-time director.

Horror hit Halloween rounded out the top five with $11 million in its third weekend for a whopping US total of $150.4 million. Internationally, it has also now grossed $18.3 million for a foreign tally of $79.2 million and $229.6 million globally.

Sony’s Venom finished Sunday with a global tally of more than $541 million – another of this autumn’s soaraway box office successes.