Don’t underestimate the power of 20th Century Fox/New Regency/GK Films’ Bohemian Rhapsody this weekend.
The appeal for the band Queen is multi-generational, and doesn’t just pertain to the original hippie-turned-yuppie fans of the 1970s and 1980s, but extends to the core fans’ sons and daughters, and ultimately, yes, their grandchildren. Talk about demand: Exhibitors have been ringing up Fox for extra screens, and we hear Bohemian Rhapsody is now looking at a footprint of 4,000 theaters or more.
So it comes as no surprise to hear that Bohemian Rhapsody is already Fandango’s highest advance-ticket seller of the year for a movie musical, besting Warner Bros/Live Nation’s A Star Is Born and Universal’s Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again at the same time in their sales cycle. Conservative expectations are that Bohemian Rhapsody opens to $35 million, but it’s a no-brainer if it sails past $40M per industry sources.
Tracking had A Star Is Born around $30M pre-opening and the Bradley Cooper-directed Lady Gaga movie turned in a three-day gross of $42.9M ($44.2M with previews). Given the older-skewing nature of musicals, they’re inherently box office sleepers. A Star Is Born should have no problem reaching $200M, while Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again opened to $34.9M and legged out to a 3.5 multiple of $120.6M domestic. On FandangoNow, Mamma Mia 2 is one of the top three rentals after Ant-Man and The Wasp and Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation.
Middling reviews of 53% Rotten? The power of Queen will prevail here over moviegoers who aren’t expected to sit at home this weekend just because of Bohemian Rhapsody‘s RT score.
In a Fandango poll of 1,000 moviegoers, 94% identified themselves as Queen fans, while 93% can’t wait to see Rami Malek’s performance as Freddie Mercury. On top of that, 70% were fans of movie musicals on screen. In regards to tracking, we understand that appeal of the PG-13 Bohemian Rhapsody is stronger among women, but very close to men and overall solid across the board. Previews start at 7 PM Thursday.
Also opening this weekend is Disney’s first film since August’s Christopher Robin, Lasse Hallstrom and Joe Johnston’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, which is expected to earn around $27M in second place.
Paramount has the Tyler Perry comedy Nobody’s Fool starring Tiffany Haddish, Tika Sumpter, Courtney Henggeler, Whoopi Goldberg and Missi Pyle. Haddish plays a woman recently sprung from prison who reunites with her sister and learns she’s in an online relationship with a guy who isn’t what he seems. Tracking has a spread for this movie in the mid- to high-teens at 2,400 locations. Previews also start at 7 PM.
In its third weekend, Universal/Miramax/Blumhouse’s Halloween is expected to do around $17M, off 46%; the $15M-budgeted pic currently counts a running domestic total of $128.6M, and $175M worldwide.