The success of Bohemian Rhapsody last year isn’t lost upon many. The Freddie Mercury biopic grossed over $900 million worldwide, making it Fox’s fourth most successful movie ever. You want to know something crazy? The only ones in front of it are Avatar, Titanic and Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace.
Yes, the film did better than anyone, including those behind it, could have ever imagined. So it’s easy to assume that those very people would be basking in their newfound riches. Right?
Well, Queen’s lead guitarist Brian May says that may not be the case. In response to some of the earlier reports alluding to some of the financial gains shared between Mercury’s family, he had this to say:
It’s incredible, it’s like a billion dollar movie. I had to laugh actually the other day. Because there’s this thing in the paper saying that we were getting rich off this movie. If they only knew. We were accounting the other day, and we still haven’t earned a penny. How successful does a movie need to be before you make money?
That’s a little upsetting to hear, given that May and Queen were closely involved in the development and production of Bohemian Rhapsody for years. Both he and drummer Roger Taylor were given an Executive Music Producer credit, so you’d expect them to get at least a tiny portion of that nearly billion-dollar intake.
With that in mind, even if the musicians don’t see any cash directly from the film, the amount of exposure the group has gotten from it and their subsequent performance at the Oscars surely adds up to a pretty penny.
But because we don’t really know the particulars, nor the exact terms of the band’s deal with the studio, it’s impossible to say Brian May and Queen are owed money for Bohemian Rhapsody. But the way in which the legendary guitarist discussed the matter, it certainly seems like the rockers got the short end of the stick.