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Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody is expected to rock the North American box office this weekend with a debut in the $35 million to $40 million range, easily enough to beat fellow new offerings The Nutcracker and the Four Realms and Tyler Perry’s first R-rated comedy, Nobody’s Fool.
Bohemian Rhapsody‘s win would mark a victory for 20th Century Fox as it prepares to disappear as a stand-alone Hollywood studio and be absorbed by Disney, home of the live-action Nutcracker. Bohemian Rhapsody cost roughly $55 million to produce before marketing, compared to a production budget north of $120 million for Nutcracker.
The Christmas-themed Nutcracker, an adaptation of the iconic ballet and short story about a girl whose nutcracker doll comes to life, is tracking to open in the low- to mid-$20 million range in what looks to be a rare miss for Disney.
Lasse Hallstrom directed the pic, although Joe Johnston was brought aboard to oversee major reshoots late last year (Johnston shares a directing credit). Keira Knightley, Mackenzie Foy, Eugenio Derbez, Matthew Macfadyen, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren star. American Ballet Theater ballerina Misty Copeland makes her big-screen debut in the family-friendly movie.
Bohemian Rhapsody, chronicling the rise of the iconic rock band Queen, was even more of a drama queen behind the scenes. Toward the end of production, helmer Bryan Singer was fired. Singer, who retains sole directing credit, was replaced by Dexter Fletcher. New Regency co-financed the film.
Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Aidan Gillen, Tom Hollander, Allen Leech and Mike Myers co-star in Bohemian Rhapsody, which launched to a huge $12.5 million in the U.K. last weekend to mark one of the biggest openings of the year in England, as well as one of the top showings in recent memory for a non-franchise title.
The film’s U.K. opening bodes well for its chances in the U.S.
From Paramount, Nobody’s Fool stars Tiffany Haddish as a recent parolee who tries to help her sister seek revenge on the man who bilked her. Tika Sumpter, Omari Hardwick, Mehcad Brooks, Amber Riley and Whoopi Goldberg co-star in the $19 million comedy, which is tracking to open in the $15 million-plus range.
The weekend box office hopes to continue a boom in ticket sales year to date. As 2018 hits the final two-month stretch, domestic revenue year to date is running 11 percent ahead of the same period last year, prompting many to predict that the year will finish with a record $12 billion or more.
Domestic revenue in the past 12 months has already hit $12 billion, a first for any 12-month period, according to comScore. “This is what could be described,” says comScore’s Paul Dergarabedian, “as a unicorn of a year at the multiplex.”
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