Outdated conventional wisdom says audiences won’t flock to see movies with LGBTQ+ characters and stories.
Well, that’s just plain wrong.
The two biggest success stories at the U.S. box office this weekend both feature queer main characters. This is a big deal.
Overall box-office champ was 20th Century Fox’s Bohemian Rhapsody, the Queen biopic starring potential Oscar nominee Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury. The Bryan Singer-directed pic (although at least two other directors worked on it after he was fired mid-production) made more than $50 million at the North American box office.
That’s the second-highest opening ever for a musical biopic, behind only Straight Outta Compton. Bohemian Rhapsody has earned over $140 million to date if you lump in international ticket sales. These are seriously impressive numbers, higher than even the high end of expectations.
Critics weren’t exactly kind to Bohemian Rhapsody (it’s teetering back and forth on the fresh/rotten line on Rotten Tomatoes) and there was tons of behind-the-scenes drama and even cries of straightwashing, but audiences were clearly drawn in by the crowd-pleaser.
The other big success story of the weekend, at the specialty box office, was Focus Features’ Boy Erased, starring Lucas Hedges as a teen who’s forced into gay conversion therapy by his parents (Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe). The drama had the highest per-screen average of any movie this weekend ($44,000) by grossing $220,000 on five screens.
Boy Erased received high marks from critics, and some Oscars attention is possible—I think especially for Hedges or Kidman.
Elsewhere, Disney’s expensive The Nutcracker and the Four Realms bombed outright with $20 against a budget of at least $125 million (it probably cost well over $200 million if you include the cost of marketing).
But seriously—what the hell is that movie? Who the hell asked for a mega-budgeted Nutcracker movie with no ballet starring Morgan Freeman with an eyepatch from the director of The Shipping News?! Sounds like someone at Disney is about to get their ass fired.
Did you see Bohemian Rhapsody or Boy Erased? Share your reactions in the comments.