Alexa, play “We Are the Champions.”
Fox’s Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” starring Rami Malek is expected to rock the box office with a debut over $35 million when it arrives in 4,000 theaters this weekend. That should easily be enough to best newcomers “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” and “Nobody’s Fool.”
It doesn’t look like the messy turmoil behind the camera has tainted anticipation for the film. Director Bryan Singer’s repeated absence from set caused Fox to temporarily halt production. Dexter Fletcher replaced Singer after he was fired toward the end of the shoot, though Singer will still retain sole directing credit. The biographical musical, co-produced by New Regency, is already off to a solid start overseas. It launched in the United Kingdom last weekend with a huge $12.2 million, ranking as one of the best debuts in that territory.
Set during the early 1970s, “Bohemian Rhapsody” chronicles Freddie Mercury’s life and the rise of Queen. It has elicited a mixed response from critics, though one consistent praise has been Malek’s spot-on portrayal of the eccentric frontman. Some pundits have predicted awards love in his future.
Meanwhile, “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” is heading for an opening between $20 million and $26 million from 2,600 locations. If estimates hold, it will mark only the third time this year that a Disney movie hasn’t bowed at No. 1 in North America. The studio is hoping a little holiday magic will justify the film’s expensive $125 million production budget. “Bohemian Rhapsody” was far less costly with a price tag of $50 million.
Disney, at least, is one of the few studios that can afford to take a hit if “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” fails to connect with younger audiences. Aside from the disappointment of “Solo: A Star Wars Story” this summer, the Magic Kingdom has fielded some of the biggest releases this year. In fact, the top three films of 2018 all came from Disney.
The family-friendly film, adapted from the ballet classic about a young girl whose Nutcracker doll comes to life, follows Clara (Mackenzie Foy) on a fantastical journey through the mysterious world of the Four Realms. Keira Knightley, Misty Copeland, Helen Mirren, and Morgan Freeman round out the cast.
The final wide release is Tyler Perry’s “Nobody’s Fool,” tracking a mid-teens debut around $15 million from 2,400 screens. That kind of opening is in line with Perry’s R-rated films “Acrimony” and “For Colored Girls.” The Paramount comedy marks Tiffany Haddish’s first solo leading role. “Nobody’s Fool” further tests the star power of Haddish, who has been on a hot streak since breaking out in last year’s raunchy comedy “Girls Trip.” In “Nobody’s Fool,” she plays a recently paroled wild child who helps her sister (Tika Sumpter) get back at a man who catfished her.
In limited release, Focus Features’ gay conversion drama “Boy Erased” drops in five theaters. Joel Edgerton directed the coming-of-age film starring Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, and Russell Crowe. Rounding out the weekend, “A Private War,” Aviron’s biographical drama with Rosamund Pike as journalist Marie Colvin, hits four venues.