By almost all accounts, the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody has overperformed. Financially, the movie is a juggernaut, having tallied more than $844 million in worldwide tickets sold (and counting). It has five Oscar nominations, including a nod for Best Picture. And yet, Queen guitarist Brian May hears the complaints from the haters who don’t appreciate the movie’s success. To that, May replies:
I’ve been bemused by the intense bitterness it’s evoked from a few people, who seem to want to shout about how bad they think the film is. I don’t yet fully understand what the motivation is. All I can think, overall, is that there is a similar jealous righteousness about a lot of the criticism that is very reminiscent of the way our music was reviewed over the years. You even see that in the movie. Maybe there is just something about what we put into our work that unites most of the world, but makes a small peripheral group of people feel resentful. My feeling is … that on the whole, between Graham, and Fox, and the whole team — including DoP, Editor, Sound, crews, extras, and us — we made the right film. It makes me happy to see the fine work done by our team recognized, as it has been.
You simply can’t please all of the people, all of the time. But Brian May’s message to the vocal detractors, captured in this Deadline interview, appears to be, “Mamma mia, let it go!” May says the band is used to this kind of reaction, and that Queen even got it for their music. While they were selling records and pushing the envelope of what a rock outfit could be, they’d get criticized for refusing to conform. No surprise, then, that Bohemian Rhapsody still is facing some backlash.
Personally, the box office numbers for Bohemian Rhapsody should be all that Brian May and the people who worked tirelessly on the movie need to reference when pointing out how the movie connected with its potential fan base. It’s the movie equivalent of a winning sports team pointing at the scoreboard as they mock opposing fans. With numbers that inch closer to $1 billion every day, Rhapsody definitely lured fans back to the theater, something May pointed out to Deadline:
I’ve been astounded by the outpourings of positive emotion from audience members all around the world. People are deeply moved, to laugh, and cry, and they get inspired — feel that they have seen a new truth … and to keep coming back and back to experience the journey again and again.
The ultimate prize for Bohemian Rhapsody would be a Best Picture win at the Oscars on February 24. And while I think that’s unlikely, this year’s Awards Season has been about as unpredictable as any in recent memory. Right now, the top prize could go to any of the eight selected Best Picture nominees, and I wouldn’t be stunned. Do you think BoRhap has a Best Picture shot? Vote in the poll, and let us know.