Posted on Monday, August 9th, 2021 by Joshua Meyer
Curly-haired Queen guitarist Brian May has changed his tune on the possibility of a Bohemian Rhapsody sequel. According to him, the band is now “looking at ideas” for one.
“We don’t really think there’s another movie there. That’s the long and the short of it … I think we should look somewhere else. There are other ideas that we had, but I don’t think a sequel will happen.”
Between then and now, something appears to have changed. In a recent Instagram Live session (via NME), May sounded more open to the idea of a sequel happening. He said:
“We are looking at it. Yeah, we have been looking at ideas. It’s going to be hard to follow that one as none of us could have predicted how massive that was going to be. We put a lot of heart and soul into making it and no one could have predicted [its success] as it was bigger than ‘Gone with the Wind.’ But yes, we are thinking maybe it could happen, but it would have to be a great script. It’s going to take a while to figure that out.”
Bigger Than Gone with the Wind?
The Gone with the Wind remark is a bit of hyperbole coming from May, not unlike John Lennon’s claim that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus.” As Indiewire observes, when adjusted for inflation, Bohemian Rhapsody was not actually a bigger box-office success than Gone with the Wind, which Guinness World Records still recognizes as the highest-grossing film of all time. Avatar, Titanic, Star Wars, and Avengers: Endgame round out the top five, nor is Bohemian Rhapsody anywhere in the top ten.
However, despite weathering controversy, Bohemian Rhapsody was still a huge global success, raking in over $900 million worldwide, and that is what May is referring to here. Rami Malek won the Best Actor Oscar for portraying Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, but anyone familiar with the movie and/or real-life history should know that Mercury died of AIDS in 1991.
Bohemian Rhapsody fudged the timeline, having Mercury diagnosed with HIV before Queen’s triumphant Live Aid concert. The film took flak for being historically inaccurate, not to mention poorly edited. One scene in particular, where the band meets with its manager, played by Aidan Gillen of Game of Thrones, went viral for its bad editing and inspired a breakdown video with almost 3 million views. Like Malek, editor John Ottman won an Oscar for Bohemian Rhapsody, but even he said that scene made him “want to put a bag over [his] head.”
Director Bryan Singer was also fired before filming was completed and saw his decades-long career end in sexual abuse allegations. Filmmaker Dexter Fletcher, who also directed the Elton John biopic, Rocketman, stepped in to replace him.
This is Hollywood, so what ultimately matters to studios is the financial bottom line. If the band signs off on a script and 20th Century Studios (formerly 20th Century Fox, now owned by Disney) thinks there is money to be made from another Freddie Mercury/Queen biopic, then we could be seeing a sequel to Bohemian Rhapsody in the future.
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