A box office smash hit upon its release in 2018, Bohemian Rhapsody starred Rami Malek, Gwilym Lee and Mike Myers and told the story of Queen and Freddy Mercury during their extraordinary rise to success in the 1970s. Captivating audiences and critics, the film went on to win four Academy Awards and was even nominated for Best Picture alongside the likes of Black Panther, Green Book and The Favourite.
So how did one of the most celebrated films of 2018 reportedly lose approximately $51 million at the box office despite making over $900 million worldwide? This is a claim that has surfaced as a result of a lawsuit filed by the biopic’s screenwriter Anthony McCarten against the production company GK Films and the producer Graham King. The lawsuit details that McCarten’s agreement with the producer was to receive 5% of the total profit of the film, though this financial matter was shifted to Fox, and Disney, with the screenwriter still yet to receive payment.
As reported by The Independent, whilst the studio argues that the terms of McCarten’s deal were not properly defined, they also state that they shouldn’t have to pay up if the movie was more than $50 million ‘in the red’, meaning that the film would have had to lose money. This, of course, doesn’t add up with the public knowledge of the film’s box office success that shows that it achieved a considerable profit.
Such isn’t the first time a major movie studio has fixed the figures to give themselves a healthier pay-off, with New Line Cinema doing acting similarly upon the release of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and the same for Warner Bros and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
With the lawsuit ongoing, we don’t think that this will be the last we hear of this dodgy financial dealing.