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Bohemian Rhapsody rocks US box offices

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Bohemian Rhapsody (above), with Egyptian-American actor Rami Malek as the charismatic Freddy Mercury, logged a stellar opening. But Disney's Nutcracker, starring Keira Knightley, was not all it was cracked up to be.

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Bohemian Rhapsody, with Egyptian-American actor Rami Malek as the charismatic Freddy Mercury, logged a stellar opening. But Disney's Nutcracker, starring Keira Knightley, was not all it was cracked up to be.

Los Angeles

PROVING again that audiences matter more than critics, Fox's Freddy Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody rocked North American box offices last weekend with a solid US$50 million take, industry tracker Exhibitor Relations reported on Sunday .

The film's unexpectedly strong launch put it well ahead of Disney's new The Nutcracker and the Four Realms at US$20 million, and Paramount's Nobody's Fool with US$14 million in estimated ticket sales for the three-day weekend.

Bohemian Rhapsody, with Egyptian-American actor Rami Malek starring as the charismatic Mercury, thus logged one of the best openings ever for a music biopic.

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The movie has received decidedly mixed reviews, however.

Vox.com dismissed it "a crashingly dull movie about . . . one of the least drab humans who ever lived," while the Washington Post called it a "bad movie that works, even when it shouldn't".

But Malek, a Primetime Emmy winner for his role in TV's Mr Robot, has won mostly high praise.

While Fox essentially paid the US$50 million production cost of Bohemian Rhapsody with the film's opening-weekend take, Disney was not faring as well with Nutcracker which cost US$125 million to make.

The studio hopes the classic Christmas tale will hold on through the holidays, Variety said.

But like Bohemian Rhapsody, the Keira Knightley film got some less-than-glowing reviews. "Tchaikovsky is rolling in his grave," said Rolling Stone.

Nor did Nobody's Fool, Tyler Perry's first R-rated comedy, do much better on the critic's couch, with HollywoodReporter.com deploring its "clumsy, misshapen script".

It stars the popular Tiffany Haddish as a newly paroled woman who tries to help her sister get revenge on a man who deceived her. In fourth place, Warner Bros' A Star Is Born earned a solid US$11.1 million in its fifth week of release.

Bradley Cooper, in his directorial debut, plays a hard-drinking musician who has a star-crossed love affair with a talented young singer (Lady Gaga).

Not far behind in fifth was Universal's Halloween at US$11 million. The low-budget horror film has Laurie Strode (played again by Jamie Lee Curtis) in a final confrontation with a masked homicidal maniac decades after she survived his first killing spree.

Rounding out the weekend's top 10 were: Venom (US$7.9 million); Smallfoot (US$3.8 million); Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween (US$3.7 million); Hunter Killer (US$3.5 million) and The Hate U Give (US$3.4 million). AFP