When Bryan Singer was fired, director Dexter Fletcher came aboard Bohemian Rhapsody to steer the film into port. That Freddie Mercury biopic wound up becoming a historic success, and now Dexter Fletcher is back with another musical icon for Rocketman. The Elton John biopic arrives at the end of the month and is currently looking to launch with $20 million.
Rocketman is tracking at a $20 million opening weekend, but according to The Hollywood Reporter, some are predicting that it could enjoy a slightly higher liftoff with $25 million. Either end of that range would be a solid, respectable opening for the Taron Egerton-fronted film, even if it wouldn’t blast the film into the stratosphere in its opening weekend.
Of the new releases opening May 31, a debut of $20-$25 million would likely put Rocketman behind Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which is currently tracking to open in the low $50 million range. Godzilla may win the weekend crown, but Rocketman does provide an interesting bit of counterprogramming for those not interested in the MonsterVerse.
Last year’s Bohemian Rhapsody opened in first place with over $50 million and went on to make $216.4 million in North America and over $900 million globally. Although not a biopic, Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born also provides a relevant comparison. That Oscar-snubbed film opened in second place opposite Venom with $42.9 million and went on to basically match Bohemian Rhapsody domestically with $215.3 million and a great, but less crazy impressive $434.2 million worldwide.
So Rocketman doesn’t look like it will open quite as big as those two music films. It’s also opening at the beginning of the more cutthroat summer season, but $20+ million would still be solid, and as is proven what seems like every other month, tracking is inexact and things can change. Bohemian Rhapsody was tracking in the mid-$30 million range before it rocked the box office to a much bigger opening.
We don’t yet know what kind of buzz Rocketman will enjoy come release time that could affect its opening weeknd. Bohemian Rhapsody received mixed reviews, but Rami Malek’s performance as Freddie Mercury was praised as worth the price of admission. That film also benefitted from the amount of play Queen’s music still enjoys.
Elton John is no niche, indie artist though, and his recognizable tunes can only help Rocketman. Dexter Fletcher’s film also features a lead performance in Taron Egerton as Elton John that could stir up some buzz since the actor does all of his own singing for the role.
Rocketman debuts at the Cannes Film Festival on May 15 and Fandango is hosting advance screenings of the movie on May 18. So we’ll have a better idea around then of what the word is on the quality of the movie. But the mere fact that advance screenings are happening so close to the world premiere and two weeks prior to the theatrical release date is hopefully a display of confidence in the film.
Rocketman blasts into theaters on May 31. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to keep track of all the movies you’ll want to see this summer.