Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody had an exceptional weekend at the box office races.
The hotly-anticipated biopic — starring Rami Malek as the Queen frontman — arrived out of the gates with an astounding $50 million on its opening weekend in North America, plus another $72 million internationally. Notably, Bohemian Rhapsody boasts the second-largest start of all time for a music biopic even when adjusted for inflation — only trailing behind N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton at $60.2 million.
Rhapsody’s astounding performance at the box office comes after a tumultuous period leading up to the film’s release, including criticism that the film erased Mercury’s queer identity, production that came to a screeching halt late last year and accusations of sexual assault and improper on-set conduct leveled against the film’s original director, Bryan Singer — who was replaced mid-production.
Still, there’s plenty to celebrate. The release of Bohemian Rhapsody has also revived interest in the iconic rock band’s music. Sales of its soundtrack have given Queen its 17th Top 40 album on the Billboard 200 with 24,000 equivalent album units earned — 12,000 of which were through traditional album sales. The music video for “Bohemian Rhapsody” also drew more interest leading up to the film, averaging 1 million views per day last week on top of the over 670 million it had already accumulated.