Box office: 'Bohemian Rhapsody' rocks with $50 Million, 'Nutcracker' crumbles

LOS ANGELES, Nov 4 (Variety.com) - There's a new box office queen in town.

Fox's Freddie Mercury biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody" overperformed with a rocking $50 million when it debuted in 4,000 theaters. That was enough to dominate in North America over fellow newcomers "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms" and "Nobody's Fool."

"Bohemian Rhapsody" ranks as the second-best start for a music biopic, following just 2015's "Straight Outta Compton" ($60.2 million). For measure, it also topped the domestic debut of Warner Bros.' "A Star Is Born," which launched with a solid $42 last month.

Rami Malek stars as iconic Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in the film, which cost around $50 million to produce. It's a bittersweet symphony for Fox as the studio prepares to merge with Disney. "Bohemian Rhapsody" has generated a mixed critical response, though audiences have embraced it with a 96 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and an A CinemaScore.

RELATED: Actors who've made the most money at the U.S. box office

20 PHOTOS
Actors who have made the most money at the U.S. box office
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Actors who have made the most money at the U.S. box office

20. Bruce Willis — $3.189 billion

Highest grossing film: "The Sixth Sense" ($293.5 million) 

Photo credit: Getty 

19. Will Smith — $3.205 billion

Highest grossing film: "Suicide Squad" ($325.1 million) 

Photo credit: Reuters 

18. Emma Watson — $3.206 billion

Highest grossing film: "Beauty and the Beast" ($504 million) 

Photo credit: Reuters 

17. Robert DeNiro — $3.233 billion

Highest grossing film: "Meet the Fockers" ($279.3 million) 

Photo credit: Reuters 

16. Robin Williams — $3.279 billion

Highest grossing film: "Night at the Museum" ($250.9 million) 

Photo credit: Reuters 

15. Michael Caine — $3.396 billion

Highest grossing film: "The Dark Knight" ($534.9 million) 

Photo credit: Reuters 

14. Gary Oldman — $3.414 billion

Highest grossing film: "The Dark Knight" ($534.9 million) 

Photo credit: Reuters 

13. Andy Serkis — $3.633 billion

Highest grossing film: "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" ($936.7 million) 

Photo credit: Reuters 

12. Johnny Depp — $3.642 billion

Highest grossing film: "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" ($423.3 million) 

Photo credit: Reuters 

11. Ian McKellan — $3.654 billion

Highest grossing film: "Beauty and the Beast" ($504 million) 

Photo credit: Getty 

10. Scarlett Johansson — $3.674 billion

Highest grossing film: "The Avengers" ($623.4 million) 

Photo credit: Reuters 

9. Stanley Tucci — $3.758 billion

Highest grossing film: "Beauty and the Beast" ($504 million) 

Photo credit: Reuters 

8. Tom Cruise — $3.777 billion

Highest grossing film: "War of the Worlds" ($234.3 million) 

Photo credit: Reuters 

7. Eddie Murphy — $3.811 billion

Highest grossing film: "Shrek 2" ($441.2 million) 

Photo credit: Reuters 

6. Anthony Daniels — $4.016 billion

Highest grossing film: "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" ($936.7 million) 

Photo credit: Reuters 

5. Robert Downey, Jr. — $4.281 billion

Highest grossing film: "The Avengers" ($623.4 million) 

Photo credit: Reuters 

4. Morgan Freeman — $4.521 billion

Highest grossing film: "The Dark Knight" ($534.9 million)

Photo credit: Reuters 

3. Tom Hanks — $4.551 billion

Highest grossing film: "Toy Story 3" ($415 million) 

Photo credit: Reuters 

2. Harrison Ford — $4.963 billion

Highest grossing film: "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" ($936.7 million) 

Photo credit: Reuters 

1. Samuel L. Jackson — $5.149 billion

Highest grossing film: "The Avengers" ($623.4 million) 

Photo credit: Reuters 

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"I'm not surprised there's a disconnect, but audiences didn't miss it," said Chris Aronson, Fox's head of domestic distribution. "That's the power of word of mouth -- and Queen and their music." Overseas, "Bohemian Rhapsody" bowed this weekend with $72 million for a global start of $122.5 million. Imax screens accounted for $10 million of its box office total. The biographical musical, co-produced by New Regency, opened in the United Kingdom last weekend with a huge $12.2 million, ranking as one of the best debuts in that territory. Its worldwide tally currently sits at a strong $141.7 million.

Overall, it doesn't look like the messy turmoil behind the camera 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 retained sole directing credit.

Disney's "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms" launched at No. 2 on the lower end of expectations with a disappointing $20 million from 3,766 venues, a rare miss for the Magic Kingdom given the movie's $125 million price tag. The disastrous opening is the lowest in over a year for the studio. Though Disney has struggled recently with movie's that don't feature a Spandexed superhero, the studio can at least afford to take a hit. Aside from the disappointment of "Solo: A Star Wars Story" this summer, the studio has fielded some of the biggest releases this year including "Black Panther" and "Avengers: Infinity War," and "Incredibles 2."

The family-friendly "Nutcracker" amassed $38.5 internationally, bringing its worldwide total to $58 million. Keira Knightley, Misty Copeland, and Mackenzie Foy star in the film, was panned by critics, who gave it a 34 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Disney is hoping the classic Christmas tale is able to pick up steam as it heads into the holidays.

"Obviously, it's not the start we were looking for, but it's a great family friendly option," said Cathleen Taff, Disney's president of domestic distribution. "Sometimes it doesn't connect as broadly as we want it to."

In third, Paramount's "Nobody's Fool," the first R-rated comedy from Tyler Perry, generated $13.7 million from 2,468 screens. That's one of the lowest bows for a Perry movie,

It's the first solo starring vehicle for breakout Tiffany Haddish, who continues to solidify her box office chops. The boisterous funnywoman also starred in this year's "Night School" with Kevin Hart, along with Ike Barinholtz's "The Oath."

Rounding out the top five are holdovers "A Star Is Born" and "Halloween." Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga's "A Star Is Born" pocketed another $11.1 million in its fifth outing, marking an impressive drop of just 21 percent. That brings its domestic tally to a huge $165 million. Universal and Blumhouse's R-rated slasher "Halloween" earned $11 million for a North American total of $150 million.

At the specialty box office, Focus Features' "Boy Erased" opened in five theaters in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco with the best screen average of the weekend. It generated $220,000 for an average of $44,000 per location. Lucas Hedges and Nicole Kidman star in the gay conversion drama, which will expand into 75 theaters next weekend.

"It's a very emotional time in America, and audiences seem to be seeing and hearing the urgency in this story. It's a film we always hoped would bring families together and get people talking, and that seems to be happening," said Focus' president of distribution Lisa Bunnell.

For Aviron, Rosamund Pike's "A Private War" played in four theaters, where it made $72,000 for a per-screen-average of $18,000.

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