Brian May Says No One Thought Bohemian Rhapsody Would Be A Huge Hit

Freddie singing in Bohemian Rhapsody

Biopics are a tried and true film genre, especially during the annual awards season. They allow a deep dive into a celebrity's life, and one lucky actor to attempt to truly immerse themselves in a real-life figure. That was exactly the case for Bohemian Rhapsody and Rami Malek, as Bryan Singer's movie has had a massively successful run in theaters.

Bohemian Rhapsody just keeps making more money at the box office, and has Awards buzz surrounding it-- including early Golden Globe and Screens Actor Guild nominations. But Queen band member Brian May wasn't always convinced it was going to make so much money. As he recently revealed:

Nobody expected it to be that huge. We thought it would do quite well. We didn't expect it to be a record-breaking blockbuster... What an incredible performance [Malek] gives. He just became Freddie.

Not even Queen musician himself was sure about the success of Bohemian Rhapsody. But just as the titular song became an unexpected hit, so did the Freddie Mercury biopic. And since it hit theaters before holiday movies started churning out, the project had less competition and more ability to gain momentum through word of mouth.

Brian May's comments to Newsweek actually make a great deal of sense, if you were following the development and filming of Bohemian Rhapsody. While the project was in production, director Bryan Singer ended up being fired from the project. While he was still credited as the movie's director, the loss of its director put Bohemian Rhapsody in a precarious position.

Couple that with controversy surrounding the film's contents, and it seemed the biopic was being set up for a loss. Prior to its release, there was backlash to Bohemian Rhapsody's portrayal of Freddie Mercury's sexuality. Much of the film focuses on his relationship with Mary Austin, keeping his same-sex romantic life largely in the periphery.

When the reviews for Bohemian Rhapsody arrived, they were less than stellar. While some believed this to be the final nail in the film's coffin, the biopic ended up really resonating with moviegoing audiences. It has since made a ton of money at the box office, with Awards buzz surrounding Bohemian Rhapsody-- especially Rami Malek's performance as Freddie Mercury.

Brian May might have originally had some doubts about Bohemian Rhapsody, but those fears seemed to quell once he saw the final project. May have been a vocal proponent of the biopic, including the characterization of Queen's band members like himself. Plus, May recently released his first new song in decades.

Bohemian Rhapsody is still playing in some theaters. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.