In a year when more than 30 queer-themed films will have gotten theatrical releases, a pair of LGBTQ-themed films dominated the box office this weekend with the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody claiming the highest in ticket sales for the weekend and the conversion therapy cautionary tale Boy Erased topping the box office in the specialty market.
Mr. Robot’s Rami Malek stepped into iconic bisexual singer Freddie Mercury's tight white jeans to deliver the performance of a lifetime in Bohemian Rhapsody and it paid off with the flick pulling in more than $50 million in North America for its opening weekend. That makes it the second biggest opening weekend for a music biopic following 2015's Straight Out of Compton, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Bohemian Rhapsody charts Queen’s rise to fame and subsequent stumbles as the charismatic frontman Mercury copes with superstardom, demons around his sexuality, and eventually discovers he has AIDS.
Costarring Allen Leech, Mike Myers, Lucy Boynton, Gwylim Lee, and Tom Hollander, the film earned $72.5 overseas and is expected to hit an early total of 141.7 million.
There was some controversy over accused sexual predator Bryan Singer’s name attached as director considering he left production suddenly in the middle of shooting and 20th Century Fox brought in Dexter Fletcher to finish the job. But judging from the numbers, moviegoers appeared to have put aside concerns about the film's association with Singer and turned out to support the film with its bisexual lead character.
Meanwhile, Boy Erased, based on the conversion therapy survivor turned activist Garrard Conley’s memoir, earned the highest screen average in the specialty box office market this weekend with an average of $44,000. The film pulled in $220,000 across five screens, according to THR.
Joel Edgerton directed the film that stars Lucas Hedges as the young gay man whose parents, played by Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe, send him to a dangerous conversion therapy program to make him straight. Edgerton also appears in the film as the head of the conversion therapy program.
While Bohemian Rhapsody and Boy Erased are the latest LGBTQ-themed films to be released in theaters this year (the former being the most successful of the year), 2018 has been relatively good for queer representation at the box office with Love Simon, Disobedience, and Colette all garnering solid box office dollars and/or critical acclaim. The anticipated LGBTQ themed The Favourite, from auteur Yorgos Lanthimos and starring Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, and Emma Stone, will be released later this month.